In a ruling that “affirms that U.S. corporations are not entitled to impunity for torture and war crimes,” a federal appeals court Monday overturned a lower court’s decision that had prevented accountability sought by Iraqi victims of torture at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison.
World outrage followed photo evidence of brutality at the prison between 2003 and 2004, and a leaked, internal Army report noted “sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses” at the hands of interrogators at the facility.
The suit, Al Shimari v. CACI International, Inc., was brought on behalf of four victims of torture at Abu Ghraib, against the Arlington, Virginia-based contractor, which was hired by the United States to conduct interrogations at the prison, and whom the plaintiffs say “instigated, directed, participated in, encouraged, and aided and abetted conduct towards detainees that clearly violated the Geneva Conventions, the Army Field Manual, and the laws of the United States.” They state that the contractor engaged in abuse, ignored reports of mistreatment and attempted to cover up the torture.
One of the plaintiffs in the case is Al Jazeera journalist Salah Hassan Al-Ejaili, who was seized while performing his “journalistic duty” and was brought to Abu Ghraib. Describing the abuse he suffered roughly a decade ago, he told Democracy Now! in April 2014 that he was humiliated, forced to strip and stay naked for extended periods, hooded, subject to intimidation by a dog, was kept in solitary for 40 days and was subjected to tortuous, hours-long interrogations every two or three days.
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