Chicago man claims held and tortured by US troops in Iraq

By Matt O’Connor in

CHICAGO – A Chicago man who worked for an Iraqi contractor alleged Monday he was imprisoned in a U.S. military compound in Baghdad, held incommunicado for more than three months and subjected to interrogation techniques “tantamount to torture.”

In a federal lawsuit filed in Chicago, Donald Vance, 29, a Navy veteran, charged that his constitutional rights were trampled by American military interrogators even though they knew he was a U.S. citizen.

“I couldn’t believe they did this to any human being,” said Vance in a telephone interview.

Vance was taken into custody without charges in April. While imprisoned at Camp Cropper near Baghdad International Airport, Vance said, he was held in solitary confinement in a continuously lit, windowless and extremely cold cell as loud heavy metal and country music blared nonstop.

The lawsuit charged that Vance, a security consultant for a private Iraqi firm at the time, was denied basic constitutional rights to due process as if he were a suspected terrorist or enemy combatant.

“That’s why they did it to him – because they could,” said Jon Loevy, one of Vance’s lawyers. “If they could do it to Mr. Vance, they could do it to anybody.”

The suit sought unspecified damages and named Donald Rumsfeld, who stepped down last week as U.S. secretary of defense, as its lone defendant for his role in overseeing the military prison system in Iraq.

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