At a Glance
This federal action brought under the Alien Tort Statute by 72 former Iraqi detainees was settled on October 10, 2012.
- Katherine Gallagher
- J. Wells Dixon
- Baher Azmy
Susan L. Burke and Susan Sajadi of Burke PLLC
Shereef Akeel of Akeel & Valentine, PLC
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.