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US appeals court examines question of responsibility for torture in case by Abu Ghraib victims

"U.S. Court Grapples with Abu Ghraib Torture Question: Who Was Responsible—the Torturers or U.S. Military?", 13 May 2016

A federal appeals court on Thursday explored the question of who was in charge, the U.S. military or civilian interrogators, when four former Iraqi detainees claim they were tortured at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison. An attorney for the former detainees urged a three-judge panel…to reinstate their lawsuit against a military contractor, arguing that its employees took advantage of an "absence of command presence" and ordered soldiers to abuse the men to soften them up for questioning. "The plaintiffs in no way seek to question military judgment," said Baher Azmy, an attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights who represents the detainees. John F. O'Connor, an attorney for the military contractor, said this is the first injury lawsuit he has seen that does not go after the people who actually inflicted the injuries — in this case, the soldiers, including some who were court-martialed.

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