Abu Ghraib Torture Victims Ordered to Pay Legal Fees

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Abu Ghraib Prisoner Handcuffed to RailingAbu Ghraib Prisoner Handcuffed to Railing

When the Abu Ghraib prison scandal broke in 2004 – by Seymour Hersh, the same journalist who broke the Mai Lai Massacre story—it was unknown what the eventual legal fallout would be. However, no one at the time would ever guess that some of the torture victims would wind up being ordered to pay the legal fees for one of the civilian contractors supplying the prison. The ruling was made in the counter-suit to a 2008 lawsuit brought against CACI for their role in the abuses that happened in that Iraqi prison.

The lawsuit was dismissed in 2008 by the US District Court in Alexandria by Judge Gerald Bruce Lee. However, the judge did not rule on the alleged abuses but instead dismissed the case on jurisdictional grounds, because the contractor fell under immunity protection because of its role as a military contractor.

The countersuit is the latest in what’s been a very aggressive campaign by CACI to defend itself against the allegations of wrongdoing in Iraq. The executive chairman of CACI, J. Phillip London, published a book in 2008 titled Our Good Name: A Company’s Fight to Defend Its Honor and Get the Truth Told About Abu Ghraib.

The plaintiffs now have to come up with nearly $14,000 to send to CACI whose fourth-quarter fiscal earnings for 2013 were $37.9 million dollars—"dismal" for the company according to NASDAQ.

In an opposition to the request filed by the plaintiffs, it says they “have very limited financial means, even by non-US standards,” let alone CACI. Yet, CACI replied that their hesitation “is just the latest example of Plaintiffs arguing that they are entitled to an exemption from the rules applicable to every other federal court litigant.”  The plaintiffs are appealing both this ruling and the dismissal of their previous lawsuit.