* Lawsuit filed in 2004 over Abu Ghraib jail mistreatment
* At issue is whether military contractors have immunity
* Obama administration opposed appeal by Iraqis
WASHINGTON, June 27 The U.S. Supreme Court on
Monday let stand the dismissal of a lawsuit claiming that
employees of two defense contractors took part in the torture
and abuse of Iraqis at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
The justices rejected an appeal by a group of 250 Iraqis
seeking to reinstate their lawsuit against CACI International
Inc (CACI.N), which provided interrogators at Abu Ghraib, and
L-3 Communications Holdings Inc's (LLL.N) Titan unit, which
provided interpreters to the U.S. military.
The lawsuit was filed in 2004 on behalf of the Iraqis who
said they or their relatives had been tortured or mistreated
while detained by the U.S. military at the Abu Ghraib prison
outside Baghdad. They said contractor employees participated in
the abuse, a claim denied by the companies.
The justices declined to review a federal appeals court
ruling that dismissed the lawsuit because the companies had
immunity as government contractors and because the suit was
pre-empted by U.S. national security and foreign policy law.
Attorneys for the Iraqis argued the contractors were not
immune because the alleged torture at the prison fell outside
the scope of the work they had agreed to perform.
In appealing to the Supreme Court, the attorneys said
victims of torture may proceed with lawsuits against private
parties and corporations can be held liable for torture under
Attorneys for CACI and L-3 opposed the appeal, said the
appeals court's rejection of the claims was correct, and said
further Supreme Court review of the case was unwarranted.
The Obama administration supported the companies and said
the appeal should be denied.
After what happened at Abu Ghraib, the U.S. government has
various tools available to punish those who commit torture and
to compensate those subjected to abusive treatment while
detained by the U.S. military, administration attorneys said.
The Supreme Court turned down the appeal in a brief order
with any comment.
The Supreme Court case is Haidar Saleh v. Titan Corp, No
(Reporting by James Vicini, Editing by Vicki Allen)