The Supreme Court declined without comment the case of 250 former
Abu Ghraib detainees whose lawsuit against private contractors, for
allegedly abusing and torturing Abu Ghraib inmates, had been thrown
out of federal court.
A group of former detainees at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in
Iraq will not be able to sue military contractors who they say
participated in torture and other illegal acts of abuse at the US-
run detention facility in 2003 and 2004.
The US Supreme Court on Monday declined without comment to take
up the case of Saleh v. Titan Corporation.
The suit raised the issue of whether private contractors hired by
the US military to perform services in a war zone may be held
accountable for allegedly participating in acts of torture and other
A federal appeals court in Washington threw out the suit against
two contractors, Titan Corporation, which provided Arabic
translation services, and CACI International, which provided
interrogators. On Monday, the detainees lost their bid to reinstate
Images of detainees at Abu Ghraib enduring harsh and abusive
interrogation tactics sparked international outrage. The tactics
included forced nudity, sexual humiliation, beatings, hooding,
stress positions, isolation, and sleep deprivation. In one case,
family members were allegedly forced to watch US interrogators
suspend a man by his arms and beat him so severely that he later
died. Some detainees were allegedly raped.
A handful of relatively low-level military personnel at the
prison were prosecuted for some of the abuses.
The class-action lawsuit on behalf of 250 former Iraqi detainees
sought compensatory and punitive damages for the victims of the
alleged abuses. The lawsuit was aimed at widening the sphere of
responsibility for the abuses by examining the role of private
contractor interrogators and translators who allegedly participated
in illegal conduct at the prison.
In dismissing the case, a three-judge appeals court panel ruled 2-
1 that claims against the contractors were precluded under a
doctrine the two majority judges called "battlefield preemption."
Writing for the court, Judge Laurence Silberman said: "During
wartime, where a private service contractor is integrated into
combatant activities over which the military retains command
authority, a tort claim [for damages] arising out of the
contractor's engagement in such activities shall be preempted."
The government acted quickly to prosecute the offending military
personnel, but no similar proceedings were initiated against
military contractors at the prison, Silberman wrote. …