Seeking Justice for Torture in Abu Ghraib

Abu Ghraib prisoner, CC wikimedia.

The Al Shimari v CACI case

In 2008, the US Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) brought a federal lawsuit – Al Shimari v. CACI . This lawsuit addresses the torture of four Iraqi men, held in Abu Ghraib prison during 2003-2004, by the private contractor CACI International Inc. and CACI Premier Technology Inc. The case is the last Abu Ghraib case in the system and, if it goes to trial, will be heard in the midst of the Trump Presidency.

The CCR assert “that CACI directed and participated in illegal conduct, including torture, at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq where it was hired by the U.S. to provide interrogation services”. The case covers violations of US and international law – including war crimes, sexual assaults and tortures.

The four victims  – Suhail Najim Abdullah Al Shimari; Taha Yaseen Arraq Rashid; Asa’ad Hamza Hanfoosh Zuba’e; Salah Hasan Nusaif Al-Ejaili – were all released without ever being charged of any crime.  They all continue to suffer mental and physical injuries from their torture that included electric shocks, food deprivation, being threatened by dogs, stress positions, beatings, sexual assaults, sensory deprivation, and being kept naked.

Interviews with Al-Ejaili, an Al Jazeera journalist, can be found here: Democracy Now! and BBC Witness. More information about the case can be found on the CCR website.

Expert Report

Darius Rejali, a Professor of Political Science at Reed College, and an international expert on torture, has provided an Expert Report for the case. His report considers several questions:

1. What is the history of these torture techniques? What is known about them?

2. Are these techniques painful, in isolation or combination? What is known about this?

3. From past accounts of torture victims, what is known about public nakedness as a norm for treatment of prisoners?

4. Why do people torture? What is known about this?

His report is highly useful for anyone interested in torture, in domestic or international settings. You can read it here.

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