There is a jury in a federal lawsuit

The Associated Press

A federal jury in Virginia said on Thursday that it was unable to reach a verdict in a lawsuit filed by three Iraqi men who said they were tortured while being held by the United States at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison two decades ago.
The testimony of the three men last month was the first time a civilian jury had heard allegations of post-9/11 abuses directly from detainees.
The mistrial means that the lawsuit, filed in 2008, can continue, if the plaintiffs seek another trial and the court agrees.
During five days of testimony, the jury heard the three plaintiffs, now middle age, describe their treatment in U.S. custody at Abu Ghraib.
The jury also heard testimony from two retired Army generals who had investigated Abu Ghraib.
The trial in the lawsuit came 20 years after the abuse at Abu Ghraib was exposed, with the publication of photos taken by Abu Ghraib guards showing military police pulling a detainee by a leash, posing beside a pyramid of naked detainees and giving a thumbs-up sign beside an ice-packed corpse.
But the military characterized the Abu Ghraib abuses as the misconduct of a few bad apples.
None of the most damning images from Abu Ghraib show CACI contractors engaging in misconduct.

NEUTRAL

In a lawsuit brought by three Iraqi men who claimed they were tortured while being detained by the US at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison two decades ago, a federal jury in Virginia announced on Thursday that it was unable to reach a verdict.

After nearly eight days of deliberation, the jury reached a deadlock, and the case’s judge, Leonie M. Brinkema of the U. S. Alexandria District Court on Thursday ruled the case to be a mistrial.

Accusing that CACI personnel acting as prison interrogators gave U.S. government orders, the three plaintiffs had sued CACI Premier Technology, a defense contractor. s. The men were mistreated by military guards in an attempt to “soften” them.

With the three men’s testimony last month, a civilian jury heard claims of abuses committed by detainees after 9/11 for the first time.

The jury foreman explained in a handwritten note to the judge on Thursday that disagreements over how to interpret the evidence and the legal defense known as the “borrowed servant” doctrine—which allowed CACI to avoid liability by demonstrating that its employees were under government control—were the main reasons the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict.

Because of the mistrial, the 2008 lawsuit may still proceed if the plaintiffs request a new trial and the court grants their request.

The plaintiffs were represented by the New York law firm Patterson Belknap Webb and Tyler as well as the human rights organization Center for Constitutional Rights.

“We will pursue our right to a retrial,” stated Baher Azmy, an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, on behalf of the plaintiffs. “.

With a number of motions and appeals contesting the validity of the plaintiffs’ claims, CACI worked for more than ten years to have the case against it dismissed. Specifically, the Alien Tort Statute allows foreign nationals to sue for damages in federal court for transgressions of international law; CACI specifically requested immunity from such claims.

In 2021 as well as in 2013 the U.S. S. The Supreme Court restricted the statute’s application by mandating that the behavior in question have a strong connection to the US. Judge Brinkema decided that the case could move forward despite CACI’s argument that the three Iraqi men’s lawsuit should be dismissed based on those rulings.

The jury heard the three plaintiffs, who are now middle-aged, explain their treatment in the U.S. during five days of testimony. S. confinement in Abu Ghraib.

Salah Al-Ejaili, one of the plaintiffs, claimed he was left exposed and in a painful stress position all night, and that the next morning he was told to clean up his own vomit. Asa’ad Al-Zuba’e claimed he was made to crawl down a hallway on his stomach while wearing a bag over his head until his legs bled. Suhail Al Shimari claimed that threats of rape and death had been made against him.

Mr. Al-Ejaili declared, “I had no control over what was happening to me, or what would happen to me.”.

Additionally, two retired Army generals who had looked into Abu Ghraib gave testimony to the jury. One of them, General, filed a report. Antonio Taguba discovered that one of the civilian interrogators employed by CACI “made a false statement” and “clearly knew his instructions equated to physical abuse,” which was executed by U.S. S. armed forces police.

The lawsuit’s trial took place 20 years after the abuse at Abu Ghraib was made public due to the release of images taken by the facility’s guards, which showed military police dragging a prisoner by a leash, posing next to a pyramid of nude inmates, and giving the thumbs up next to a corpse packed with ice.

After the photos came news that top Bush administration officials had approved harsh “enhanced interrogation techniques” in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks. 11th, 2001. However, the military described the mistreatment at Abu Ghraib as the actions of a small number of bad individuals. In military prison, less than twelve enlisted soldiers received sentences of conviction from courts-martial.

Says Charles A., “Everyone knew it was wrong.”. Graner, a military prisoner who was referred to as the “ringleader” of the soldiers abusing their position at the time. And nobody was prepared to intervene and put an end to it. “.

The Virginia-based defendant, a division of CACI International, has refuted any misconduct. The most incriminating photos from Abu Ghraib don’t depict any wrongdoing by CACI contractors.

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