Contractor pays $5 million to tortured Iraqi prisoners

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Chantilly, VA, United States (4E) – A U.S. defense contractor for Iraq accused of torturing and abusing Iraqi prisoners in 2004 has settled a lawsuit from its victims for $5 million.

The 71 former detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad and other U.S. military-run prisons in Iraq received part of the settlement paid by Virginia-based Engility Holdings on behalf of L-3 Services, the victims’ lawyer, Baher Azmy, revealed Tuesday.

The settlement was also indicated in a quarterly earnings report filed by the company with the Securities and Exchange Commission in November.

L-3 provided translators to the U.S. military after the Iraq war. It was sued for beating, and undressing the ex-detainees. The Engility subsidiary also prevented the prisoners from sleeping and subjected them to extreme temperature. The torture and abuse were exposed when photos of the victims got media attention.

In 2008, the lawsuit was filed against L-3 in Greenbelt, Maryland. Eleven U.S. soldiers involved in torturing and abusing the prisoners were convicted and sentenced to a few years imprisonment. The last soldier convicted in the case was released in August 2011.

Engility tried to dismiss the lawsuit claiming its workers were immune from lawsuit for being part of the U.S. forces. A federal court, however, rejected the motion in 2010. The company appealed the decision but an appeals court dismissed it last year.

Meanwhile, another contractor, CACI, will face trial over a similar lawsuit.

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