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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

April-08-08

Military Contractor in Iraq Faces More Rape Allegations

Another woman has come forward with allegations of rape by both a fellow KBR employee and a US soldier while working for KBR in Iraq. According to The Nation, the 42-year-old paramedic reported the assault, but was told by KBR employees to keep quiet. Her computer was even confiscated as "evidence" when she emailed a lawyer for advice.

This case is not an isolated incident. Sexual assault of civilian contractors working with the military abroad received public attention in 2005 after Jamie Leigh Jones, a former KBR employee, came forward with allegations that she was drugged and gang-raped by a group of her co-workers in the Green Zone KBR camp in Iraq. Since she went public, many more women have come forward with similar allegations. Jones has testified at Congressional hearings, asking lawmakers to address the difficulties victims of such crimes face in suing their employers when the crimes occur abroad.

Five years after the United States invasion of Iraq, the US has still not created laws to protect Americans working under American contractors in foreign countries. The lack of legal protection makes it difficult for women to defend themselves through the legal system, leaving them in a kind of "legal limbo," according to the New York Times. To date, no one has been prosecuted for sexually assaulting a US civilian in Iraq.

ABC News reports that the Justice Department has now finally agreed to send an official to answer questions about the investigation and prosecution of alleged sex crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Justice Department refused to send an official to a December 2007 hearing on the subject.

Media Resources: New York Times 2/13/08; ABC News 4/8/08; The Nation 4/3/08


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