CACI International was able to win a dismissal of a lawsuit by Abu Ghraib prisoners for directing torture at the notorious prison when a US federal court said it lacked jurisdiction. But getting away with participating in a torture program was not enough for CACI, now they want the Abu Ghraib prisoners who brought the suit to pay the company’s legal bills.
Weeks after winning dismissal of a case alleging that CACI International employees directed mistreatment of Abu Ghraib detainees, the company has asked its accusers to pay a $15,580 bill for legal expenses. Lawyers for the plaintiffs, all Iraqis who served time at the prison, opposed the request in a federal court filing on Monday.
In July, CACI secured a long-fought victory when a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit against one of the company’s units, deciding that because the alleged abuse happened overseas, the U.S. District Court in Alexandria did not have jurisdiction to hear the case.
To be clear, CACI was in no way exonerated of wrongdoing, the court merely ruled that because the actions took place in Iraq they did not have jurisdiction. Nonetheless CACI wants compensation for deposing witnesses.
The plaintiffs “have very limited financial means, even by non-U.S. standards, and dramatically so when compared to the corporate defendants in this case,” the filing said. “At the same time, plaintiffs’ serious claims of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and war crimes were dismissed on very close, difficult — and only recently arguable — grounds.”
Baher Azmy, the attorney for the plaintiffs and legal director at the Center for Constitutional Rights, said the effort “appears to me an attempt to intimidate the plaintiffs.”
If not intimidate, at least injure financially. CACI may be hoping that forcing the Abu Ghraib victims to pay CACI’s legal bills will deter them from continuing on with the case and speaking out publicly against CACI.
The plaintiffs plan to file an appeal to the court’s ruling in the fall.
Photo by Nironen under public domain.