At a Glance
Cases were settled on January 6, 2010
Susan Burke, William O’Neill, Katherine Hawkins of Burke O’Neil LLC
Talib Mutlaq Deewan, Abdulwahab Abdulqadir Al-Qalamchi, Mahdi Abdulkhudhir Abbass, Sami Hawas Hamood, Fereed Waleed Hassoon, Bara’a Sa’adoon Ismael, Sameer Hoobi Jabbar, Abdulameer Rahmeen Jehan, Mohammed Hassan Mohammed, Haider Ahmed Rabe’a, Hassan Jabir Salman, Affrah Sattar Ghafil, Yassameen Abdulkhudir Salih, Wissam Raheem Fulaih, Alah Majeed Sghair Zaidi, Zuhair Najim Abbood Al-Mamouri, Ali Khalaf Salman Mansour, Sarhan Thiab Abdulmounem, Adel Jabir Shamma, Jassim Mohammed Hashim, Haider Sa’adoon Lateef, and Sa’adoon Lateef Majeed; families of Ali Hussamaldeen Albazzaz, Kadhum Kayiz Aziz, and Sa’ad Raheem Jarallah, Himoud Saed Abtan, Usama Fadhil Abbass, Oday Ismail Ibraheem, Ali Khaleel, Mushtaq Karim Abd Al-Razzaq, Qasim Mohamed Abbas Mahmoud, Mohamed Abbas Mahmoud, and Ghaniyah Hassan Ali
Abtan, et al. v. Prince, et al. and Albazzaz, et al. v. Prince, et al. are cases, later consolidated, filed in the Eastern District of Virginia against private military contractor Blackwater (later known as “Xe Services”) and its founder, Erik Prince, on behalf of Iraqis wounded and families of Iraqis killed by shooters from Blackwater in Baghdad. Albazzaz brought claims for the September 9, 2007, killings in Al Watahba Square; Abtan brought claims for injuries and killings in the September 16, 2007, shootings in Nisoor Square. These cases are part of CCR’s effort to bring accountability for serious violations of international law arising out of the so-called “war on terror” and corporate human rights violations.
On September 9, 2007, Blackwater shooters opened fire on a crowd of Iraqi civilians in Al Watahba Square, killing Ali Hussamaldeen Albazzaz, Kadhum Kayiz Aziz, and Sa’ad Raheem Jarallah. Mr. Albazzaz, the father of a newborn baby, was standing outside his rug store at the time that he was killed. Mr. Aziz was guarding a government building. Mr. Jarallah, a 53-year-old school teacher, was killed while visiting Baghdad for work. Numerous other civilians were injured. The families of these men are plaintiffs in Albazzaz.
Abtan was initially filed on behalf of Talib Mutlaq Deewan, an Iraqi civilian who was injured when Blackwater personnel opened fire on Iraqi civilians on Nisoor Square on September 16, 2007, and the families of three men killed in the shooting—Himoud Saed Abtan, Usama Fadhil Abbass, and Oday Ismail Ibraheem. Subsequent amendments to the complaint joined the families of additional Iraqi civilians who were killed, and twenty-one additional Iraqis who were injured later joined as plaintiffs in the case.
Both cases allege that Erik Prince, Blackwater, and affiliated companies violated state, federal, and international law. Claims include war crimes under the federal Alien Tort Statute (ATS), one count under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, and assault and battery, wrongful death, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, and negligent hiring, training, and supervision, under state law. In particular, the complaints allege that the Blackwater “created and fostered a culture of lawlessness amongst its employees, encouraging them to act in the company’s financial interests at the expense of innocent human life,” and routinely deployed heavily-armed “shooters” in the streets of Baghdad with the knowledge that some of them were chemically influenced by steroids or other judgment-altering substances. Both cases seek compensatory damages for death and physical, mental, and economic injuries, damages for intentional and willful destruction of evidence, as well as punitive damages.