Monday, June 30, 2008
ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Four Iraqi men are suing U.S. military contractors who they say tortured them while they were detained in Abu Ghraib prison, according to lawsuits being filed at U.S. federal courts on Monday.
The lawsuits allege the contractors committed violations of U.S. law, including torture, war crimes and civil conspiracy.
The scandal over the treatment of detainees at Abu Ghraib unleashed a wave of global condemnation against the United States when images of abused prisoners surfaced in 2004
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The four plaintiffs, all later released without charge, described their experiences to Reuters on Monday at an Istanbul hotel, where they periodically meet their U.S. legal team. They gave accounts of beatings, electric shocks and mock executions.
Farmer Suhail Naim Abdullah Al-Shimari, 49, said he was caged, beaten, threatened with dogs and given electric shocks during more than four years in detention. He was released in March without being charged and without any judicial process.
“I lost my house, my family were made homeless and left without a breadwinner. I lost four-and-a-half years of my life and all they did was say sorry,” he told Reuters.
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Some lower-ranking soldiers have been convicted in military courts in connection with the physical abuse and sexual humiliation of Abu Ghraib detainees.
The latest lawsuits follow a similar one launched in early May in federal court in Los Angeles by another former Abu Ghraib detainee, Emad Al-Janabi. The latest plaintiffs sought unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
“This litigation will contribute to the true history of Abu Ghraib. These innocent men were senselessly tortured by U.S. companies that profited from their misery,” said Susan L. Burke, one of the attorneys representing the detainees.
The lawsuits were being filed where the contractors reside. They named CACI International Inc, CACI Premier Technology, L-3 Services Inc and three individual contractors.