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4 Iraqi Men File Suit Over Abu Ghraib Abuse Allegations

June 30, 2008

By Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press

Jun. 30–Four Iraqi men who say they were tortured in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq filed federal lawsuits today — including one suit in Detroit — against U.S. military contractors and their employees for allegedly abusing them while in custody.

The claim filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit was on behalf of Mohammed Abdwaihed Towfek Al-Taee, a 39-year-old taxi driver who says he was wrongly imprisoned, tortured, and then released without any charges. The suit was filed here because one of the contractors, L-3 Communications, recruited heavily in Dearborn and Wayne County for translators

“They were inflicting torture on innocent people,” said Shereef Akeel, of Troy, one of the attorneys representing the former detainees. “The suit is designed to hold people accountable.”

Other lawsuits were filed in Ohio, Maryland, and Washington and make similar claims.

The defendants are CACI International and CACI Premier Technology Inc. of Arlington, Virginia, L-3 Services Inc., a division of L-3 Communications Corp. in New York, and three individual contractors who worked for them.

A spokesman for L-3 could not be immediately reached for comment.

But Jody Brown, CACI Executive Vice President Corporate Communications, said in an emailed statement that “The reality of this litigation is far different from the fiction that the plaintiffs’ attorneys project. In the years that have passed since these claims first surfaced, nothing has changed to give any merit to unfounded and unsubstantiated claims. Indeed, the latest lawsuits by plaintiffs’ counsel represent another predictable step in an ongoing ‘big lie’ propaganda campaign to keep their lawsuits in the public eye and their personal political agendas in the public light.”

The New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights and attorneys from Philadelphia are representing the detainees.

“These innocent men were senselessly tortured by U.S. companies that profited from their misery,” said Philadelphia attorney Susan L. Burke in a news release. “Their stories remain untold largely because the defendants never interviewed them — or any victims — before reaching and promoting hollow conclusions about what happened at Abu Ghraib. These men came to U.S. courts because our laws, as they have for generations, allow their claims to be heard here.”

According to the news release and lawsuits, the plaintiffs are Al-Taee; Wissam Abdullateef Sa’eed Al-Quraishi, a 37-year-old married father of three; Sa’adoon Ali Hameed Al-Ogaidi, a 36-year-old teacher, shopkeeper and father of four; and Suhail Najim Abdullah Al-Shimari, a farmer who said he was caged, threatened with dogs, beaten, and given electrical shocks.

Contact NIRAJ WARIKOO at nwarikoo@freepress.com

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