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1 Aug 2023

Center for Constitutional Rights

USA: Judge refuses to dismiss case against U.S. military contractor CACI in Iraq's Abu Ghraib torture case

"Judge Sides With Abu Ghraib Torture Survivors, Refuses to Dismiss Historic Case Against U.S. Military Contractor CACI"

A federal judge has rejected the latest attempts by CACI Premier Technology, Inc. to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Iraqis who endured torture at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison during the U.S. government’s occupation of Iraq. In a lawsuit filed on their behalf by the Center for Constitutional Rights in June 2008, Suhail Al Shimari, Asa’ad Al Zuba’e, and Salah Al-Ejaili are seeking damages from the Virginia-based company, which the U.S. government hired to provide interrogation services at Abu Ghraib...

CACI has repeatedly insisted it is not liable for the torture it helped inflict on Iraqis. In fact, it has sought to have the case dismissed an astonishing 18 times, being rebuffed four times by the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit as well as by the Supreme Court. For its latest challenges, CACI invoked the Supreme Court’s 2021 decision in Doe v. Nestle, which addressed the scope of the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), and three unrelated Supreme Court cases issued in 2022 as a basis for dismissal.

In a 2018 ruling, the district court held that the treatment alleged by the men at Abu Ghraib constituted torture, war crimes, and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, actionable under the ATS. The ATS gives U.S. federal courts jurisdiction over civil actions brought by foreign nationals alleging violations of international law...

“This most recent decision affirms that the human rights norms vindicated by the Alien Tort Statute remain vital and are available to address a case revealing substantial evidence identified by the court that CACI facilitated and promoted the torture and abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib; the ruling has cleared the way, almost 20 years hence, for our clients to tell their story in open court,” said Center for Constitutional Rights Legal Director Baher Azmy...