Ex-Abu Ghraib inmates get $5 million settlement over abuse

Al Arabiya News
January 10, 2013

 

Photos from Abu GhraibA defense contractor whose subsidiary was accused of conspiring to torture Abu Ghraib prisoners has settled with 71 former inmates for $5 million.

U.S. firm Engility Holdings paid to inmates held at Abu Ghraib, Baghdad, and other U.S.-run prisons, between 2003 and 2007 on behalf of L-3 Services, according to a legal filing found by the Associated Press.

L-3 provided translators to the U.S. military in post-war Iraq. In 2006, L-3 Services had more than 6,000 translators in Iraq under a $450 million-a-year contract, an L-3 executive told an investors conference at the time.

On Tuesday, a lawyer for the ex-detainees, Baher Azmy, told AP that each of the 71 Iraqis received a portion of the settlement. Azmy declined to say how the money was distributed among them. He said there was an agreement to keep details of the settlement confidential.

“Private military contractors played a serious but often under-reported role in the worst abuses at Abu Ghraib,” said Azmy, the legal director at the Center for Constitutional Rights. “We are pleased that this settlement provides some accountability for one of those contractors and offers some measure of justice for the victims.”

Images of abuse at Abu Ghraib in 2004 sparked international outage. The ex-detainees filed the lawsuit in federal court in Greenbelt, Md., in 2008.

L-3 Services “permitted scores of its employees to participate in torturing and abusing prisoners over an extended period of time throughout Iraq,” the lawsuit stated. The company “willfully failed to report L-3 employees’ repeated assaults and other criminal conduct by its employees to the United States or Iraq authorities.”

One inmate alleged he was subjected to mock executions by having a gun aimed at his head and the trigger pulled. Another inmate said he was slammed into a wall until he became unconscious. A third was allegedly stripped naked and threatened with rape while his hands and legs were chained and a hood was placed on his head. Another said he was forced to consume so much water that he began to vomit blood. Several of the inmates said they were raped and many of the inmates said they were beaten and kept naked for extended periods of time.

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