May 16, 2012
Two U.S. defense contractors have lost their appeal in federal court and must continue to fight multiple lawsuits accusing their employees of helping torture Iraqis at Abu Ghraib prison and at other locations during the war.
The two companies, CACI International and L-3 Communications Holdings (formerly known as Titan Corporation), were hired by the Department of Defense after the military invasion of Iraq in 2003. CACI and L-3 provided translators to help conduct interrogations of Iraqi insurgents.
Following the revelations that hundreds of Iraqis were tortured by American forces at Abu Ghraib and other detention centers, the two contractors were sued for participating in the abuse, which included physical and sexual assaults, electric shocks, dog attacks, and mock executions on prisoners.
A three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last September that the companies had immunity as government contractors and could not be held liable for their actions. L-3 and CACI then filed a motion for the appellate court to dismiss the lawsuits.
In a surprising turn, the full 14-judge panel for the Fourth Circuit ruled against the companies last week and dismissed their motion for dismissal.
The lawsuits, Al Shimari v. CACI et al. and Al-Quraishi et al v. Nakhla et al., have been sent back to district court for further proceedings.
To Learn More:
Appeals Court Revives Iraq Contractor Torture Cases (by Terry Baynes, Reuters)
Accountability for Torture by Private Military Contractors: The Cases against Titan/L-3 and CACI (Center for Constitutional Rights) (pdf)
Al-Quraishi et al v. Nakhla et al. (Center for Constitutional Rights)
Al Shimari v. CACI et al. (Center for Constitutional Rights)
Are Military Contractors Free to Commit Torture without Punishment? (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)