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Abu Ghraib detainees sue defense contractors

Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By David Dishneau
Associated Press / July 1, 2008

HAGERSTOWN, Md. - Three Iraqis and a Jordanian filed federal lawsuits yesterday alleging they were tortured by US defense contractors while detained at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq in 2003 and 2004.

The lawsuits allege that those arrested and taken to the prison were subjected to forced nudity, electrical shocks, mock executions, and other inhumane treatment.

They seek payments high enough to compensate the detainees for their injuries, and to deter contractors from such conduct in the future.

"These innocent men were senselessly tortured by US companies that profited from their misery," said lead attorney Susan L. Burke, of the Philadelphia law firm Burke O'Neil. "These men came to US courts because our laws, as they have for generations, allow their claims to be heard here."

Allegations of abuse at the Baghdad prison first erupted in 2004 with the release of pictures of grinning US soldiers posing with detainees, some naked, being held on leashes or in painful and sexually humiliating positions. Eleven US soldiers were convicted and five others disciplined in the scandal.

The contractors named as defendants in the lawsuit are CACI International Inc. of Arlington, Va., and New York-based L-3 Communications Corp., formerly Titan Corp.

Three of the complaints were filed in US district courts in Seattle, Greenbelt, Md., and Columbus, Ohio, where three of the defendants reside. The fourth was filed in Detroit, where L-3 recruited heavily for translators, according to that complaint.

The lawsuits repeat "baseless allegations" made more than four years ago in another case brought by the same lawyers, CACI spokeswoman Jody Brown said in a statement.

"In the years that have passed since these claims first surfaced, nothing has changed to give any merit to unfounded and unsubstantiated claims," the statement read. "These generic allegations of abuse, coupled with imaginary claims of conspiracy, remain unconnected to any CACI personnel."

L-3 didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Three of the lawsuits also name individual employees of those companies as defendants. They are Adel L. Nakhla, a former L-3 translator, of Montgomery Village; Daniel "DJ" Johnson of Renton, Wash., who worked as a CACI interrogator, and Timothy L. Dugan of Pataskala, Ohio, who also worked as a CACI interrogator, according to the complaints.

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