A US judge has ordered four Iraqis who were tortured at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison to pay $14,000 to their abusers.

The men, who were stripped naked and made to perform sexual acts on each other, among other things, were told that they had to pay the fees to defense contractor CACI, an Arlington, Va.-based company that supplied interrogators to the US government during the Iraq War.

The reason their case was thrown out of court, was because even though the federal judge acknowledged that the torture did happen, US District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee ruled that because the alleged acts took place on foreign soil, CACI was “immune from suit” in an American court.

Lee did not, however, directly address the question of whether CACI employees took part in the mistreatment of prisoners. The treatment of detainees at Abu Ghraib exploded into an international scandal in 2004, when shocking photos emerged of prisoners being stacked on top of each other, threatened with dogs, and sexually abused.

A little over a month after winning the dismissal this summer, CACI requested that the former prisoners be ordered to pay $15,580 to cover the company’s legal expenses.

Lawyers for the Iraqis disputed that their clients should pay CACI’s bills, partly because the Iraqis had “very limited financial means, even by non-U.S. standards, and dramatically so when compared” to CACI, according to a court filing. Moreover, they wrote, the initial claims against CACI, involving “serious claims of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and war crimes were dismissed on very close, difficult — and only recently arguable — grounds.”

Attorneys for the Iraqi prisoners have said they plan to file an appeal of the June dismissal this Autumn.
CACI did not respond to a request for comment on the ruling although they denied allegations of torture on their website.

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