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Agence France Presse

Ex-Abu Ghraib Inmates Sue US Firms For Torture


ISTANBUL  - Four Iraqis are suing two US firms and their employees for allegedly torturing them at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Bagdad five years ago.0701 02 1

Their lawsuit is against private security contractor CACI International and two of its interrogators, Daniel Johnson and Tim Dugan, and the translation agency L-3 (formerly Titan Corp) and its interpreter, Abel Nakhla, lawyer William Gould told AFP in Istanbul on Monday.

Their complaint was to be lodged Monday at courts in Maryland, Ohio and Washington -- the US states where the alleged torturers live -- as well as Michigan, where L-3 recruited most of its interpreters, said Gould who met his Iraqi clients in Istanbul.

He said the court cases would show that the accused were in Abu Ghraib and involved in a conspiracy that included the torture of the plaintiffs.

Abu Ghraib prison became infamous after the publication in 2004 of photographs showing Iraqi detainees being humiliated and abused by their US guards. The scandal led to the sentencing of 11 soldiers to up to 10 years in prison.

The majority of the abuse took place at the end of 2003, when CACI and Titan employees were working in the prison, US military courts have said.

This the second set of lawsuits against CACI and L-3.

Another group of former Abu Ghraib prisoners filed complaints against the two firms last year in the states of Washington and California.

One of the current plaintiffs, Suhail Najim Abdullah Al-Shimari, 49, was taken from his Bagdad home in November 2003 and spent more than a year at Abu Ghraib, where he claims to have been subjected to electroshock and night-long cold showers in the winter.

"We think there will be people there in the United States who will want to give us back our dignity... by bringing these people to justice," he told AFP via an interpreter.

Sa'adon Ali Hameed Al-Ogaidi, 39, said he was repeatedly beaten at Abu Ghraib and tied to door handles.

"At times, it seemed they were torturing people to have fun," said the former prisoner, who claims to have witnessed guards sodomising prisoners.

Taxi driver Mohammed Abdwihed Towfek Al-Taee, 39, was taken to Abu Ghraib in 2003.

He has scars on his leg and head that he said came from beatings with an iron rod. He also said he was forced to drink litres of water while his penis was tied to prevent him from urinating.

"I wish I would be the last person to be detained and to be tortured," he said.

Abu Ghraib was closed in 2006.

© 2008 Agence France Presse

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