Al-Quraishi, et al. v. Nakhla and L-3 Services Historic Case

At a Glance

Date Filed: 

June 30, 2008

Current Status 

This federal action brought under the Alien Tort Statute by 72 former Iraqi detainees was settled on October 10, 2012.

Co-Counsel 

Susan L. Burke and Susan Sajadi of Burke PLLC
Shereef Akeel of Akeel & Valentine, PLC

Client(s) 

72 Iraqi civilians who were tortured at Abu Ghraib and other prisons, including named plaintiff Wissam Al-Quraishi

Case Description 

Al-Quraishi, et al. v. Nakhla and L-3 Services is a federal lawsuit against U.S.-based private contractor L-3 Services, Inc. (formerly Titan Corporation, now Engility) and Adel Nakhla, a former employee of Titan/L-3 Services, for their role in torture and other war crimes at Abu Ghraib and other prisons in Iraq. CCR filed the suit on behalf of 72 Iraqi civilians who were subjected to horrifying acts of torture at the hands of these contractors and certain government co-conspirators. This case is part of CCR’s effort to bring accountability for torture and other serious violations of international law arising out of the so-called “war on terror” and corporate human rights violations.

CACI International, Inc. had initially been named as a defendant in this case but was dismissed early in the litigation. This private military contractor, however, is the subject of another CCR lawsuit, Al Shimari  v. CACI, a case brought on behalf of four Iraqi civilians who were tortured at the “hard site” in Abu Ghraib prison in 2003-2004. CCR previously litigated a case against CACI and Titan/L-3, Saleh v. Titan, for war crimes and torture, on behalf of 256 former Iraqi civilian detainees, which was dismissed in 2009.

At Abu Ghraib and other prisons, our clients were subjected to heinous acts, including rape and threats of rape and other forms of sexual violence; electric shocks; repeated beatings; prolonged hanging from limbs; forced nudity; hooding; isolated detention; and being urinated on. They were also prevented from praying and otherwise abiding by their religious practices.

The named lead plaintiff, Wissam Al-Quraishi, a father of three, 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. Mr. Al-Quraishi also witnessed the defendant Adel Nakhla forcibly holding down a fourteen-year old boy as his co-conspirator raped the boy by placing a toothbrush in his anus. Another plaintiff, Emad Khudhayir Shahuth Al-Janabi, almost had his eyes clawed out, was stripped naked and threatened with rape, was hung upside down until he lost consciousness, and was deprived of sleep for extended periods of time. Like the other Iraqi civilians in this lawsuit, Mr. Al-Quraishi and Mr. Al-Janabi were released after enduring torture and other serious mistreatment without being charged with any crime.

This lawsuit was brought under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), which CCR has pioneered for decades as a tool to pursue redress for international human rights violations, and federal question jurisdiction. The complaint charged L-3 Services, Inc. and Adel Nakhla with violations of U.S. and international law, including 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.

After years of litigation, a settlement was reached on October 10, 2012, marking the first positive resolution to a U.S. civil case challenging detainee treatment outside the United States in the larger “war on terror” context.

For more information about accountability for torture by private military contractors, see CCR's factsheet.

Case Timeline

November 2008 - January 2009

Briefing on motions to dismiss

November 2008 - January 2009

Briefing on motions to dismiss

Adel Nakhla and L-3 Services file motions to dismiss on November 26, 2008. Plaintiffs file their oppositions on January 2, 2009. L-3 Services and Adel Nakhla file their replies on January 26, 2009.

October 1, 2008

Plaintiffs file second amended complaint

October 1, 2008

Plaintiffs file second amended complaint

Plaintiffs move to file their second amended complaint, which includes two additional plaintiffs. Judge Messitte grants plaintiffs’ motion to amend the complaint on November 12, 2008.

September - October 2008

Briefing on motion to transfer venue

September - October 2008

Briefing on motion to transfer venue

L-3 Services files a motion to transfer the venue to the Eastern District of Virginia on September 8, 2008. Plaintiffs file their opposition on October 2, 2008. L-3 Services files its reply on October 17, 2008.

September 5, 2008

Plaintiffs file amended complaint

September 5, 2008

Plaintiffs file amended complaint

Plaintiffs file an amended complaint, with 69 additional plaintiffs included.

August 13, 2008

CACI dismissed as defendant

August 13, 2008

CACI dismissed as defendant

Plaintiff's motion to dismiss CACI defendants without prejudice is granted.

June 30, 2008

Plaintiff Al-Quraishi files complaint

June 30, 2008

Plaintiff Al-Quraishi files complaint

Wissam Al-Quraishi files a complaint against Adel Nakhla, L-3 Services, CACI International, Inc. and CACI Premier Technology, Inc. in the U.S. District Court for Maryland, Greenbelt Division, which is assigned to Judge Peter J. Messitte.