WASHINGTON: A defense contractor whose subsidiary was accused in a lawsuit of conspiring to torture detainees at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq has paid $ 5.28 million to 71 former inmates held there and at other US-run detention sites between 2003 and 2007.
The settlement in the case involving Engility Holdings Inc. marks the first successful effort by lawyers for former prisoners at Abu Ghraib and other detention centers to collect money from a US defense contractor in lawsuits alleging torture. Another contractor, CACI, is expected to go to trial over similar allegations this summer.
The payments were disclosed in a document that Engility filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission two months ago but which has gone essentially unnoticed.
The Abu Ghraib prison scandal erupted during President George W. Bush’s re-election campaign in 2004 when graphic photographs taken by soldiers were leaked to the news media. They showed naked inmates piled on top of each other in a prison cell block, inmates handcuffed to their cell bars and hooded and wired for electric shock, among other shocking scenes. In the ensuing international uproar, Bush said the practices were “abhorrent.”