The Islamic Post Blog

Abu Ghraib Prisoners Sue Private Firms by Khalida
July 25, 2008, 5:24 pm
Filed under: International, July Volume II - 2008, World | Tags: , , ,

By Durdana Begum Qadria, Islamic Post Staff Writer

Caption: United States private contractors are not the only ones operating in Abu Ghraib. It was previously alleged that former Israeli Shin Bet interrogators were hired by the Pentagon for Abu Ghraib.

Released without being charged, former Abu Ghraib prisoners have brought separate lawsuits in four U.S. courts against two U.S. companies and three individual contractors that worked in Iraq.
CACI International, one of the defendants named in the lawsuits, claims the accusations are “baseless.” The company stated, “These generic allegations of abuse, coupled with imaginary claims of conspiracy, remain unconnected to any CACI personnel.”
On July 16, the US House of Representatives approved a ban prohibiting the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from allowing private contractors to interrogate detainees, Reuters reported. While the ban is part of a bill authorizing intelligence expenditures for the 2009 fiscal year, President  Bush is expected to veto the legislation.
United States civilian firms have been contracted to do work for the U.S. military in Iraq, with many of them having been given the task of managing highly sensitive duties such as gathering intelligence and engaging in combat.
Abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison were exposed when photographs of U.S. soldiers surfaced. These pictures were proof of the mistreatment prisoners suffered in 2003, which continues up to today. Some prisoners have chosen to speak out against the atrocities they suffered.  When looking at the big picture, one might think hiring civilian contractors is warranted; however, questions have been raised as to whose laws they should obey, and to whom should they be accountable when crimes are committed at their hands.
The four plaintiffs who brought suit against the private companies were prisoners at  Abu Ghraib in 2003 and 2004. Waseem al-Quraishi, one of the plaintiffs, said he was electrocuted, hung from a pole, and beaten for seven days.
Military personnel have been tried and convicted on criminal charges for the atrocities they committed at Abu Ghraib. If convicted, this would be the first time civilians face a similar fate for same crimes committed.


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