The defendants are CACI International Inc. (NYSE: CAI) and CACI Premier Technology, Inc., of Arlington, Va.; L-3 Services Inc., an Alexandria, Va.-based division of L-3 Communications Corp. (NYSE: LLL), of New York; and three individual contractors, Adel Nakhla, of Montgomery Village, Md., Timothy Dugan, of Pataskala, Ohio, and Daniel E. Johnson, of Seattle, Wash.
The Iraqi civilians filing suit in federal courts in Maryland, Ohio, Michigan, and Washington state, jurisdictions in which the individual contractor defendants reside, are:
• Mohammed Abdwaihed Towfek Al-Taee, a 39-year-old taxi driver who was detained and horrifically abused for nine months before his May 2004 release. He later learned that he likely was the victim of a customer who presumably turned him over in exchange for American money for intelligence “tips.”
• Wissam Abdullateef Sa’eed Al-Quraishi, a 37-year-old married father of three, who was hung on a pole for seven days at the infamous Abu Ghraib “hard site” and subjected to beatings, forced nudity, electrical shocks, humiliating treatment, mock executions and other forms of torture during his incarceration at the prison.
• Sa’adoon Ali Hameed Al-Ogaidi, a 36-year-old Arabic teacher and shopkeeper and father of four, who was held for a year, caged, brutally abused at the prison “hard site,” stripped and kept naked, and was a “ghost” detainee hidden for a time from the International Committee of the Red Cross.
• Suhail Najim Abdullah Al-Shimari, a farmer who was held for more than four years, including at the prison “hard site,” was caged, threatened with dogs, and subjected to beatings and electrical shocks, and threatened with death and being sent to a “far away” place.
The former detainees are represented by attorneys Susan L. Burke and William F. Gould of Burke O’Neil LLC, of Philadelphia; Katherine Gallagher of the Center for Constitutional Rights; and Shereef Akeel, of Akeel & Valentine, PLC, of Troy, Mich.
The lawsuits allege that the defendants committed multiple violations of U.S. law, including torture, war crimes, and civil conspiracy. CACI, which provided interrogators at Abu Ghraib, and L-3, which provided translators at the prison, were linked to abuses there in military court martial proceedings which resulted in convictions for U.S. military personnel but no civil or criminal penalties for contractors implicated in abuses. According to the lawsuits, the individual contractor defendants allegedly “tortured, and conspired with others to torture.”
Mr. Nakhla was employed by L-3, then Titan Corp., as a translator in Iraq from June 2003 to May 2004, and also was known at Abu Ghraib as “Abu Hamid.” According to the Al-Quraishi lawsuit, he was photographed participating in the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, he confessed his involvement in acts of torture and abuse to military investigators, and he was observed by Mr. Al-Quraishi forcibly holding down a minor while a co-conspirator raped the minor with an object.
Mr. Dugan was employed by CACI as a screener and interrogator in Iraq from October 2003 to May 2004. According to the Al-Shimari lawsuit, a U.S. soldier told military investigators in a sworn statement that when he instructed Mr. Dugan to cease torturing prisoners and comply with the Army Field Manual, Mr. Dugan responded, “I have been doing this for 20 years and I do not need a 20-year-old telling me how to do my job.” He also allegedly threatened another CACI employee who reported his suspicions that Mr. Dugan had tortured prisoners.
Mr. Johnson was employed by CACI as an interrogator in Iraq from October 2003 to February 2004. According to the Al-Ogaidi lawsuit, sworn and unsworn testimony from military personnel who participated in Abu Ghraib torture establish that Mr. Johnson was one of the interrogators who most frequently directed that certain prisoners be tortured. U.S. Army Sergeant Ivan Frederick, who was sentenced to eight years in prison for his own participation in the Abu Ghraib conspiracy, testified that Mr. Johnson once directed him to inflict extreme physical pain on a prisoner and temporarily suffocate a prisoner.
According to the complaints, the defendants not only participated in physical and mental abuse of the detainees, but also destroyed documents, videos and photographs; prevented the reporting of the torture and abuse to the International Committee of the Red Cross; hid detainees and other prisoners from the International Committee of the Red Cross; and misled non-conspiring military and government officials about the state of affairs at the Iraq prisons.
Susan L. Burke, of Burke O’Neil LLC, stated, “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. Their stories remain untold largely because the defendants never interviewed them – or any victims – before reaching and promoting hollow conclusions about what happened at Abu Ghraib. These men came to U.S. courts because our laws, as they have for generations, allow their claims to be heard here.”
Center for Constitutional Rights attorney Katherine Gallagher stated, “Private military contractors and the individuals they employ cannot act with impunity. Contractors must act within the bounds of law and must be held accountable for their participation in the atrocities at Abu Ghraib and the other facilities in Iraq. We believe their actions and the acts of torture of their employees clearly violated the Geneva Conventions, the Army Field Manual, and the laws of the United States.”
Shereef Akeel, of Akeel & Valentine, PLC stated, “These lawsuits across the United States demonstrate the extent of damage and harm committed by private contractors against innocents. We filed these suits in courts in Michigan, Maryland, Ohio and Washington state to honor our commitment to give voice to victims who were tortured by these contractors. It is a testament to our great democracy that we can hold accountable those who are responsible for the horrific acts alleged in these lawsuits.”
The cases are:
• “Suhail Najim Abdullah Al-Shimari v. Timothy Dugan, et al,” in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Eastern Division .
• “Sa‘adoon Ali Hameed Al-Ogaidi v. Daniel E. Johnson, et al,” in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.
• “Mohammed Abdwaihed Towfek Al-Taee v. L-3 Services, Inc.,” in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
• “Wissam Abdullateef Sa’eed Al-Quraishi v. Adel Nakhla, et al,” in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Greenbelt Division.
The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, The Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at ccrjustice.org.