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3 Mai 2024

Matthew Barakat, AP

USA: Judge declares mistrial after jury deadlocks in lawsuit against military contractor CACI over alleged abuses of Abu Ghraib prisoners

"Judge declares mistrial after jury deadlocks in lawsuit filed by former Abu Ghraib prisoners," 3 May 2024

A judge declared a mistrial Thursday after a jury said it was deadlocked and could not reach a verdict in the trial of a military contractor accused of contributing to the abuse of detainees at the Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq two decades ago.

The eight-member civil jury in Alexandria deadlocked on accusations the civilian interrogators... had conspired with soldiers there to abuse detainees as a means of “softening them up” for questioning.

The trial was the first time a U.S. jury heard claims brought by Abu Ghraib survivors in the 20 years since photos of detainee mistreatment — accompanied by smiling U.S. soldiers inflicting the abuse — shocked the world during the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

...CACI had argued that it wasn’t complicit in the detainees’ abuse.

The issue of who controlled CACI interrogators occupied a significant portion of the trial.

The jurors who spoke to AP said there was conflicting evidence in the case about whether CACI retained control of its employees while they were in Abu Ghraib.

The plaintiffs can seek a retrial.

Asked if they would do so, one of their lawyers... said that “the current expectation is that we’ll continue to fight.”

The lawsuit was first filed in 2008 and was delayed by 15 years of legal wrangling and multiple attempts by CACI to have the case dismissed.

During the trial... lawyers for the three plaintiffs argued that CACI was liable for their mistreatment even if they couldn’t prove that CACI’s interrogators were the ones who directly inflicted the abuse.

The evidence included reports... and concluded that multiple CACI interrogators were complicit in the abuse...