Civil rights group calls for Abu Ghraib prisoner torture case to be reopened
Ten years after the Abu Ghraib scandal, a rights group Tuesday called for the reopening of a case against a US private military contractor that conducted interrogations at the Iraqi prison.
US soldiers were implicated in the torture and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners at Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib prison when the US military ran it in 2004, a scandal that first broke when photos showing soldiers abusing detainees were published in US media.
Civilian employees of CACI Premier Technology, Inc., working under government contract, were accused of encouraging soldiers to prepare detainees for interrogation with the controversial practices.
Between 2004 and 2006, 11 soldiers — including Lynndie England, who was seen smiling beside naked prisoners being subjected to sexual abuse — were convicted in court martials.
“CACI indisputably played a key role in those atrocities, and it is time for them to be held accountable,” Center for Constitutional Rights legal director Baher Azmy said Tuesday.
He called for federal authorities to re-open a case in a Virginia appeals court brought by four Iraqi former detainees.
A federal judge had dismissed the case in June 2013, citing the precedent of a recent Supreme Court decision “Kiobel vs Shell/Royal Dutch Petroleum.” In that case, the top US court found that British oil giant Shell couldn’t be held accountable in US courts for rights violations committed in Nigeria.
“The Kiobel case should not apply to a case like us,” Azmy told AFP.
CACI International “is a US corporation ” that was working “in a US-run prison at a time when Abu Ghraib and Iraq were occupied by the US, so it’s not really a foreign action.”
The Arlington, Virginia-based company, contacted by AFP, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
But on its website, company chairman Jack London noted that “no CACI employee or former employee has ever been indicted for any misconduct in connection with CACI’s work in Iraq.
“While three former employees have been cited in various reports in connection with disputed incidents in Iraq, no CACI employee took part or appears in any of the horrific photos released from Abu Ghraib,” he added.
The Richmond court decision is expected within the next several months.
In June 2011, the US Supreme Court refused to hear a complaint from 250 Iraqi prisoners against CACI and Titan Corporation, another private contractor that worked at Abu Ghraib.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]