US judge says lawsuit against CACI over alleged inhuman treatment of ex-Abu Ghraib prisoners in Iraq can proceed

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Article
22 September 2017

A suit over Abu Ghraib getting to ‘what actually happened’

Author: Rachel Weiner, Washington Post (USA)

Thirteen years after leaving Abu Ghraib prison, and nine years after filing suit in federal court, a group of former Iraqi detainees got to make the case before a judge in Alexandria, Va., on Friday that they were tortured and that the contractor CACI International is partly to blame.

U.S. District Court Judge ­Leonie M. Brinkema declined a request by CACI to dismiss the case Friday, saying she would like to develop a full record of which employees were “on the scene, and what was going on.” She concluded that there is sufficient evidence for the lawsuit to proceed toward a pretrial judgment from the court or come before a jury.

Interrogators working for the contractor, which is based in Arlington, Va., are accused of directing beatings, starvation, sexual violations, sleep deprivation and other abuse of prisoners in the detention facility…

It is the first civil case against U.S. contractors to get to a point where a judge is evaluating allegations of mistreatment. Other lawsuits have been thrown out on procedural grounds…

In their own court papers, CACI’s attorneys argued that the treatment alleged, while “deplorable” and “undoubtedly humiliating,” is “not severe enough to be considered torture.”…

[CACI] said that “the military approved interrogation techniques — including many of the techniques about which Plaintiffs’ complain,” and that there is no evidence CACI employees were involved in any mistreatment…

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Article
22 September 2017

Abu Ghraib ex-inmates' lawsuit moves ahead in federal court

Author: Matthew Barakat, Associated Press

After nine years of fits and starts, dismissals and reinstatements, a federal lawsuit filed by one-time inmates at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq against civilian interrogators who worked there is moving ahead.

"We're not dismissing this case. It's going to go forward," U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema said at the conclusion of a hearing Friday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria. She said she'll issue a written ruling at a later date outlining her rationale.

The three inmates who are plaintiffs in the case allege the CACI interrogators directed a conspiracy in which they ordered military police to soften up the detainees for questioning with tactics that amounted to torture, including beatings, sleep deprivation, forced nudity and sexual humiliation.

The lawsuit has been dismissed multiple times, only to be reinstated each time by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond…

Brinkema reiterated at Friday's hearing that CACI would be held responsible for unlawful conduct, even if it was carried out at the military's behest…

CACI maintains it is not liable, in part because its interrogators were not the ones who inflicted the punishment on the inmates…

"The court has sent an important message that there can be accountability for torture, a vital step for our clients who have yet to see justice," Azmy [the plaintiffs' lawyer] said.

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Article
22 September 2017

Court Rules Abu Ghraib Survivors’ Case of Torture Against Private Military Contractor Can Proceed

Author: Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)

Today, a Virginia federal court ruled that three Iraqi individuals formerly detained at the infamous “hard site” at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq were subjected to treatment that could constitute torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and that the case to hold the private military contractor CACI Premier Technology accountable for this treatment can proceed…

Today’s hearing marked the first time in the course of the nine-year case that CCR presented in court the details of the torture and serious mistreatment their clients suffered at Abu Ghraib. In the proceedings to come, plaintiffs will seek to hold CACI directly accountable for cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, torture, and war crimes.

“The court has sent an important message that there can be accountability for torture, a vital step for our clients who have yet to see justice,” said CCR Legal Director Baher Azmy…

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