Violations of Human Rights
Burke PLLC is dedicated to using the judicial system to fight against torture and other human rights abuses.
Burke PLLC has a history of tackling human rights issues. Among other issues, firm lawyers have sought justice in the federal courts for many deprived of their rights, including so-called “excludeable” Mariel Cubans, the mentally ill for the District of Columbia, paratransit users in Baltimore, Maryland, and for families whose property was seized by Eygpt as a result of their religious affiliations.
If your rights have been violated, please call us to discuss whether legal remedies exist.
Burke PLLC, working with co-counsel Center for Constitutional Rights and Shereef Akeel, has been fighting to obtain justice for the Iraqis tortured by Americans at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
In 2002, Susan L. Burke began an effort that ultimately led to the filing of a series of lawsuits against the two publicly-traded corporations identified by the military as complicit in the Abu Ghraib scandal: Titan (now called L-3) and CACI.
The law firm filed its first lawsuit in June 2004, only a few months after the Abu Ghraib torture scandal came to light. At present, two Abu Ghraib torture cases remain pending. The torture victims filed in the Eastern District of Virginia (J. Lee) and in the District of Maryland (J. Missette). When CACI and L-3 appealed the District Courts’ denials of their motions to dismiss, the Fourth Circuit granted en banc review and heard oral argument on January 27, 2012.
Burke PLLC has been privileged to work with artists and authors inspired to speak out against torture in Abu Ghraib. Artist Daniel Heyman, photographer Chris Bartlett, playwrights Kathleen Tolan and Jennifer Schelter, and author Nick Flynn all traveled to the mideast with Burke PLLC lawyers to meet former detainees from Abu Ghraib.
Artist Daniel Heyman’s work bring home to Americans the horror of the torture, as he captures both the images and the words of the detainees.
Author Nick Flynn’s moving book, The Ticking Is The Bomb, recounts listening to the victims recount what transpired in the Abu Ghraib hard site.
Photographer Chris Bartlett’s beautiful portraits (shown at Open Society Institute and elsewhere) restore a measure of dignity to the detainees.
Playwright Jennifer Schelter’s one-woman play Love Lessons captures the beauty and humor, as well as the tragedy, of the sessions with the detainees.
Although the court proceedings will continue for some time to come, Burke PLLC applauds Congress for legislating against the use of private contractors in interrogation, and for ensuring supervision when private contractors serve as translators.