Torturer Lawsuits: Some Good News
Torturers go on trial.
by Stephen Lendman
A previous article titled Good News and Bad said when something good surfaces, reporting it should follow. There's so precious little around.
Two lawsuits against private military contractors (PMCs) offer encouragement. Both were brought under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS). The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed them on behalf of tortured and abused plaintiffs.
They were held at Iraq's notorious Abu Ghraib prison. America mistreats everyone held there. It's official policy in all US torture prisons.
A confidential settlement resolved Al-Quraishi v. L-3 Services , Inc. CCR sued L-3 Services, Inc. (formerly Titan Corp.) and Adel Nakhla, it former employee.
It was brought on behalf of 72 Iraqi plaintiffs. They charged torture, war crimes, and other forms of abuse. On July 29, 2010, Judge Peter Messittee denied Defendants' motions to dismiss.
On September 21, 2011, a Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals three-member panel reversed the district court and dismissed the case.
On October 5, 2011, plaintiffs petitioned for rehearing en banc (the full court). On November 8, the Fourth Circuit granted a rehearing.
On November 23, L-3 filed its brief. On December 10, plaintiffs filed their own. On December 19 and 20, amicus briefs supported them.
On January 27, 2012, oral arguments were heard. On May 11, the Court dismissed L-3's appeal. It remanded the case to the district court for rehearing. On October 10, a confidential settlement was reached.
Although terms aren't known, plaintiffs won a significant victory. L-3 Services and Nakhla "directed and participated in torture and other illegal conduct." They did so at Abu Ghraib and other Iraq prisons.
CCR charged defendants with "torture; cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment; war crimes; assault and battery; sexual assault and battery; intentional infliction of emotional distress; negligent hiring and supervision; and negligent infliction of emotional distress."
Other counts included "civil conspiracy," as well as aiding and abetting it. Plaintiffs sought compensatory and punitive damages. Acts they were subjected to included:
"rape and threats of rape and other forms of sexual assault; electric shocks; repeated beatings, including beatings with chains, boots and other objects; prolonged hanging from limbs; forced nudity; hooding; isolated detention; being urinated on and otherwise humiliated; and being prevented from praying and otherwise abiding by their religious practices."