U.S. Security Company Seeks Dismissal of Abu Ghraib Torture Charges because Victims were not Allowed to Leave Iraq
CACI International, a U.S. defense contractor that supported the notorious Abu Ghraib prison during the Iraq war, is trying to get a lawsuit dismissed because some of the plaintiffs have been stuck in Iraq and are unable to enter the U.S.
In Al Shimari v. CACI, four Iraqis claim the contractor helped torture them while providing interrogation services at Abu Ghraib. All of them were ultimately released without being charged with a crime. They allege that CACI subjected them to a variety of torture techniques, including “electric shocks; repeated brutal beatings; sleep deprivation; sensory deprivation; forced nudity; stress positions; sexual assault; mock executions; humiliation; hooding; isolated detention; and prolonged hanging from the limbs.”
CACI lawyers have contended the case should be dismissed on two grounds. One argument centers on the fact that three of the plaintiffs have not appeared in court.
One plaintiff living in Qatar gave a deposition in person, while two others have been prevented from leaving Iraq. They had already received boarding passes for a flight from Baghdad to the United States when airport officials stopped them from actually boarding the flight.
U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee is weighing this argument for dismissal, as well as another one put forth by CACI. The second claim is based on a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling (Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum) that CACI attorneys say should apply to their case.
“In Kiobel, the high court found that the Alien Tort Statute—under which most of the claims against CACI were brought—is presumed not to apply to actions outside the United States,” according to Marjorie Censer of The Washington Post. Lawyers for the Iraqi plaintiffs dismissed this argument by pointing that the Kiobel ruling applied to a case in which none of the parties involved were based in the United States, whereas CACI is most definitely headquartered in the U.S.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
To Learn More:
Judge Weighs Motions that could Result in Dismissal of Abu Ghraib Claims against CACI (by Marjorie Censer, Washington Post)
Al Shimari v. CACI et al. (Center for Constitutional Rights)
Taha Yaseen Arraq Rashid (Free Detainees.org)
Private Contractor Torture Cases Given Go-Ahead by Federal Court (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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