Four Iraqis who were formerly held at the Abu Ghraib were ordered by a federal judge this week to pay almost $14,000 in legal fees to defense contractor CACI. Employees of CACI were alleged to have “directed the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib.”
This lawsuit was originally filed back in 2008 after the victims alleged the CACI employees’ direction of the torture; however, the suit was thrown out this past June because U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee ruled CACI “immune from suit” because the crimes occurred outside of the U.S.
A dismissal wasn’t enough for CACI, however. Shortly after the case was thrown out, the contractor filed suit against the four former prisoners. Initially, CACI sought a settlement of $15,580. In total, the federal government paid defense contractors $100 billion, so $15,000 is mere pennies to these companies, making the fact that they sought after compensation a despicable one.
Legal director for the Center for Constitutional Rights, Baher Anzy, said “Given the wealth disparities between this multi-billion dollar entity and four torture victims, given what they went through, it’s surprising and appears to be an attempt to intimidate and punish these individuals for asserting their rights to sue in U.S. courts.”
On its website, CACI claimed that the neither company “nor any of its employees have been found or proven to be involved in” any abuse or “directing abuse.” Whether that’s true or not, in no way does it excuse the CACI’s countersuit on those with “very limited financial means, even by non-U.S. standards.” The suit is outright bullying.
Joshua de Leon is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire.