US Defense Contractor Sues Former Abu Ghraib Inmates

CACI wants legal fees covered in lawsuit over torture allegations

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff | Suggested by pg13

Posted Aug 15, 2013 10:32 AM CDT

(Newser) – Rubbing it in, or just routine legal procedure? A major US defense contractor is suing four former detainees at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq—after the detainees filed a suit of their own accusing the contractor's employees of torturing them. The background, from the Washington Post: The detainees sued Maryland contractor CACI International because they said company employees abused them while they were in custody in 2003 and 2004. A US judge, however, threw out the case in June on a technicality—because the alleged abuse took place overseas, he said the US District Court in Alexandria didn't have jurisdiction.

The detainees are appealing that decision, but in the meantime, CACI wants them to pay about $15,000 in legal fees it accrued in the case. "Given the wealth disparities between this multibillion dollar entity and four torture victims, given what they went through, it's surprising and appears to be an attempt to intimidate and punish these individuals for asserting their rights to sue in US courts," a US legal advocate working on the case tells Common Dreams. The Post, meanwhile, rounds up opposing opinions from legal experts not involved in the case—one says "there's nothing unusual at all about it," and the other thinks it's rare to go after the money in a case involving human rights concerns. In any event, the detainees are fighting the request in court.

In this 2006, file photo, an Iraqi army soldier closes the door of a cell in Abu Ghraib prison on the outskirts of Baghdad.
In this 2006, file photo, an Iraqi army soldier closes the door of a cell in Abu Ghraib prison on the outskirts of Baghdad.   (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed, File)
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