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Federal lawsuit claims US contractor responsible for torturing 250 Iraqi detainees

[JURIST] US military contractor CACI International [corporate website] is allegedly responsible for the torture of more than 250 former detainees held in Iraqi prisons, according to the amended complaint [complaint, PDF] filed Tuesday in a class action lawsuit [CCR materials] pending in US federal court. According to a press release [text] from the Center for Constitutional Rights:

The complaint alleges that these victims were repeatedly sodomized, threatened with rape and harm to their family members, stripped naked, kept naked in their cells, chained and handcuffed to the bars of their cells, forced to wear women's panties on their heads and bodies, subjected to electric shock, subjected to extreme heat and cold, attacked by unmuzzled dogs, subjected to serious pain inflicted on sensitive body parts, and kicked, beaten and struck.

CACI employees did not play a limited, passive, or secondary role in this torture, according to the complaint. Rather, two CACI interrogators – Stephen Stefanowicz (known as "Big Steve") and Daniel Johnson (known as "DJ") – were viewed as among the most aggressive. These two men were responsible for directing former U.S. military personnel Charles Graner, Ivan Frederick, and others to torture and abuse prisoners. Indeed, CACI employees Big Steve and DJ directed such harsh torture that both Graner and Frederick, who were convicted and sentenced, respectively, to 10 and 8 years in prison for abusing prisoners, refused to follow the CACI directives to torture prisoners.
Last month, US District Judge James Robertson refused to dismiss [order, PDF; JURIST report] the litigation against CACI, whose employees worked as interrogators for the US military. Robertson dismissed a similar lawsuit against military contractor Titan, saying that Titan's translators worked under the military's exclusive supervision and control. Robertson concluded, however, that "a reasonable trier of fact could conclude that CACI retained significant authority to manage its employees." AFP has more.

12/20/07 - In a statement [text] Thursday, CACI called the lawsuit "malicious and unfounded":
From day one, CACI has rejected the outrageous allegations of this lawsuit and will continue to do so. CACI has unequivocally renounced any abuse of detainees in Iraq and has cooperated fully in all government inquiries relating to detainee abuse. CACI does not condone or tolerate illegal or inappropriate behavior by any employee when engaged in CACI business and has repeatedly stated it would take swift action if the evidence demonstrates culpable wrongdoing by any of its employees. However, CACI also emphasizes its strong commitment to the fundamental American principle that people are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The accusations in the self-proclaimed "victims" ever-changing lawsuit are a rehash of their original baseless submissions. The attempt by plaintiffs' counsel to portray CACI as engaged in a conspiracy to abuse detainees is unmitigated fiction perpetrated by plaintiffs' counsel as part of their "big lie" propaganda campaign to keep their lawsuit afloat and their personal political agendas in the public light. The plaintiffs are attempting to prosecute the same restated, reformulated and related claims that were frivolous when first filed and which remain to this day frivolous and maliciously false.
Reuters has more.

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