Abu Ghraib Prisoners Accuse US Companies of Torture

Two US Army subcontractors accused of torturing prisoners at Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib jail go to court Wednesday in a case that highlights the murky legal status of private US companies in Iraq.

Titan and CACI International were hired by the Army to provide interrogators and interpreters at the notorious prison, the scene of well-documented abuses of detainees following the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

One former Iraqi prisoner now living in Sweden says that under the companies’ watch, he was sodomized, nearly strangled with a belt, tied by his genitals to other detainees, and given repeated electric shocks. The case was filed in 2004 by a dozen former prisoners and the family of a man who died in detention, accusing Titan and CACI of conspiring with US officials “to humiliate, torture and abuse persons” at Abu Ghraib.

“This case represents our last hope for getting some accountability for the torture in Iraq and getting any compensation for the victims,” said Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, whose group has fielded lawyers to assist in the lawsuit.

But US security companies in Iraq occupy a legal gray area, as highlighted by the case of Blackwater USA, which according to a new Congress report has been involved in nearly 200 shootings in Iraq since 2005.

[Agence France Press]

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