American defense contractor CACI International has sued four former detainees in Abu Ghraib prison to compensate the legal expenses it paid over their dismissed lawsuit regarding the company’s role in torturing the plaintiffs in the notorious jail in Iraq.
The four Iraqi nationals had earlier filed a lawsuit in a District Court in Alexandria against the company accusing it of torturing, humiliating and dehumanizing them when they served time in the prison.
But in July, the judge dismissed the case, saying the court did not have jurisdiction to hear the lawsuit because the incidents happened overseas.
The Arlington-based company has now demanded the plaintiffs pay over $15,000 for travel allowances, deposition transcripts and witness fees, Common Dreams reported.
The lawyers for former Abu Ghraib prisoners in a federal court filing rejected the request.
Our clients “have very limited financial means, even by non-US standards, and dramatically so when compared to the corporate defendants in this case,” according to the filing.
“At the same time, plaintiffs’ serious claims of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and war crimes were dismissed on very close, difficult - and only recently arguable - grounds.”
“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 US courts," said Baher Azny, legal director for the Center for Constitutional Rights and the attorney for the plaintiffs.
"Our case is based on reports and investigations by high-level US military investigators, recognizing CACI's role in conspiracy to torture detainees," Azny added
"Once we get past legal obstacles and present the case to a jury, we are hopeful justice will come to these Iraqi victims."
The lawyers who are planning to appeal the case to the US Court of Appeals in fall argue that US law should apply to CACI International as it is an American-based company that operated in a US military prison.