[JURST] The Iraqi Justice Ministry on Tuesday temporarily closed Abu Ghraib [JURIST news archive] prison due to security concerns. Reports indicate that Iraqi authorities are concerned [NYT report] about the growing power of a Sunni-backed insurgency within the Anbar province, in close proximity to the prison grounds. A government official reportedly announced wednesday, however, that the prison’s closure was temporary [AP report] until security issues can be resolved. In the meantime, the government has transferred approximately 2,400 inmates to other high security prisons throughout the nation.
Abu Ghraib prison, and allegations of torture therein, have been a continuing source of controversy. In August CACI International, a US military defense contractor, filed suit [JURIST report] against former detainees of Abu Ghraib, seeking legal expenses after a group of four plaintiffs filed lawsuits against CACI in 2009 accusing the company of crimes against humanity, sexual assault, torture and other violations. In January 2013 a military contractor accused [JURIST report] by former Abu Ghraib detainees of conspiring to torture detainees paid USD $5.28 million to detainees held at the prison and other US detention centers in Iraq. In September 2011 the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit dismissed two cases [JURIST report] filed by former Iraqi detainees who claimed they had been tortured by civilian contractors at the Abu Ghraib prison [JURIST news archive] near Baghdad.