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Abu Ghraib Torture Victims Ordered to Pay U.S. Contractor’s Legal Fees

On September 4, 2013 a federal judge ordered four Iraqis, former Abu Ghraib prisoners, to pay roughly $14,000 in legal fees to defense contractor, CACI, the company responsible for supplying the interrogators used by the U.S. Government at the prison. In 2008, the prisoners brought a suit against CACI, alleging that CACI employees “directed the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib.” The suit was dismissed when U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee held that because the alleged acts took place on foreign soil, CACI was “immune from suit” in U.S. Court.

Shortly after winning the dismissal, CACI requested that the former prisoners be ordered to pay $15,580 to cover the company’s legal expenses. The lawyers for the Iraqis strongly opposed these fees, stating that the former prisoners lacked the financial means, “even by non-U.S. standards and dramatically so when compared to CACI.” The attorneys also noted that the initial case against CACI, involving “serious claims of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and war crimes were dismissed on very close, difficult – and only recently arguable – grounds.”

Attorneys for the Iraqi prisoners have said that they will appeal the decision. Meanwhile, CACI continues to deny the allegations that its employees abused or directed others to abuse prisoners at Abu Ghraib. It has gone as far as to state that “[n]either CACI nor any of its employees have been found or proven be involved in or charged with abuse, nor indicted for ‘directing abuse.’”

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