US companies sued for Iraq abuses

Two US companies with contracts at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison are being sued for conspiring in the illegal abuse and torture of prisoners.

    Iraqi prisoners were tortured by US forces at Abu Ghraib

    The suit was filed against CACI Inc. and Titan Corp.

    in a US federal court in California on Wednesday on behalf of several prisoners

    and the estate of one who died at the notorious Iraqi prison.

    The lawsuit aims for class-action status, which would allow

    other prisoners to join, according to the Center for Constitutional

    Rights, the non-profit group that filed the action.

    Instead of providing lawfully contracted services to the US

    government, the firms "conspired with each other and with certain

    United States government officials to direct and conduct a scheme to

    torture, rape and, in some instances, summarily execute" the p

    risoners, the lawsuit alleged.

    The suit also names three employees of the contractors, Adel

    Nahkla, Stephan Stefanowicz and John Israel.

    The suit was filed under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt

    Organizations Act (RICO) and the Alien Tort Claims Act.

    Company denials

    It alleges

    the companies "engaged in a wide range of heinous and illegal

    acts in order to demonstrate their abilities to obtain intelligence f

    rom detainees, and thereby obtain more contracts from the

    government," the Center for Constitutional Rights said.

    It seeks unspecified damages.

    "CACI has never entered into a conspiracy with the government,

    or anyone else, to perpetrate abuses of any kind"

    CACI statement

    The suit alleges some prisoners were beaten repeatedly, stripped

    naked, hooded and raped, forced to watch a father being tortured to

    death, and otherwise abused and humiliated.

    CACI, a technology service firm, vehemently rejected the

    allegations, calling them "malicious recitation of false statements

    and intentional distortions."

    "CACI has never entered into a conspiracy with the government,

    or anyone else, to perpetrate abuses of any kind," the company said

    in a statement.

    "The suit alleges a plethora of heinous acts that the company

    rejects and denies in their totality," it added.

    Plaintiffs were identified as Sami Abbas al-Rawi, Mwafaq Sami

    Abbas al-Rawi and three individuals referred to only as Ahmad,

    Ismail and Neisef. They also included two unnamed people and the

    estate of one person who died, identified only as Ibrahim.

    SOURCE: AFP


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