At a Glance
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the district court's dismissal and reinstated the case on October 21, 2016. Two plaintiff depositions were held in February 2017. On June 28, 2017, Judge Brinkema ruled that plaintiffs' claims for torture; cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment; and war crimes are actionable under the Alien Tort Statute. Judge Brinkema denied CACI's motion to dismiss the third amended complaint from the bench on September 22, 2017. On January 17, 2018, CACI filed its answer to the third amended complaint as well as a third-party complaint against the U.S.; the plaintiffs filed a motion to strike the third-party complaint on February 7, 2018. In her February 21, 2018 order denying CACI's motion to dismiss, Judge Brinkema ruled that the conduct suffered by plaintiffs constitutes torture, war crimes and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.
Shereef Akeel of Akeel & Valentine, PLC
Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP
Suhail Najim Abdullah Al Shimari
Taha Yaseen Arraq Rashid
Salah Hasan Nusaif Al-Ejaili
Asa'ad Hamza Hanfoosh Zuba'e
Al Shimari v. CACI is a federal lawsuit brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of four Iraqi torture victims against U.S.-based government contractor CACI International Inc. and CACI Premier Technology, Inc. The lawsuit asserts that CACI directed and participated in illegal conduct, including torture, at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq where it was hired by the U.S. to provide interrogation services. CCR's four clients were all held at the “hard site” in Abu Ghraib prison in 2003-2004. 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 invasion of Iraq.
The lawsuit was originally brought against L-3 Services Incorporated (formerly Titan Corporation), CACI International Inc., and Timothy Dugan, a former employee of CACI. CACI and L-3 Services were the U.S. government contractors responsible for interrogation and translation services, respectively, at Abu Ghraib prison and other facilities in Iraq. L-3 Services and Timothy Dugan were dismissed as defendants in the case in 2008, and the litigation has proceeded against CACI.
The case, brought under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) and federal question jurisdiction, brings claims arising from 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. Through this action, the clients seek compensatory and punitive damages.
Our clients are Iraqis civilians who were ultimately released without ever being charged with a crime. They all continue to suffer from physical and mental injuries caused by the torture and other abuse they endured. Here’s a brief description of the acts to which they were subjected at the hands of CACI employees and certain government co-conspirators:
Suhail Najim Abdullah Al Shimari was detained from 2003 until 2008, during which he was held at the Abu Ghraib “hard site” for about two months. While he was there, CACI and its co-conspirators tortured him in various ways: he was subjected to electric shocks, deprived of food, threatened by dogs, and kept naked while forced to engage in physical activities to the point of exhaustion.
Taha Yaseen Arraq Rashid was detained from 2003 until 2005, during which he was imprisoned at the Abu Ghraib “hard site” for about three months. While he was detained there, CACI and its co-conspirators tortured Mr. Rashid by placing him in stress positions for extended periods of time; humiliating him; depriving him of oxygen, food, and water; shooting him in the head with a taser gun; and by beating him so severely that he suffered broken limbs and vision loss. Mr. Rashid was forcibly subjected to sexual acts by a female as he was cuffed and shackled to cell bars. He was also forced to witness the rape of a female prisoner.
Asa’ad Hamza Hanfoosh Zuba’e was imprisoned at Abu Ghraib from 2003 until 2004. CACI and its co-conspirators tortured him while he was detained there by subjecting him to extremely hot and cold water, beating his genitals with a stick, and detaining him in a solitary cell in conditions of sensory deprivation for almost a full year.
Salah Hasan Nusaif Al-Ejaili, an Al Jazeera journalist, was imprisoned at the Abu Ghraib “hard site” for approximately four months. While he was there, CACI and its co-conspirators stripped him and kept him naked, threatened him with dogs, deprived him of food, beat him, and kept him in a solitary cell in conditions of sensory deprivation. See his interviews with Democracy Now! and BBC Witness.
For more information about accountability for torture by private military contractors, see CCR's factsheet.