Iraqi in Blackwater case rejects compensation deal
BAGHDAD: An Iraqi injured by the U.S. private security firm once known as Blackwater will not accept a compensation deal for injuries he suffered after company employees opened fire in a crowded Baghdad square, he said Sunday.
Mahdi Abdul-Kadir was speaking about a civil lawsuit. It is separate from the criminal case brought against the company, whose dismissal has become a lightening rod for Iraqi resentment over the behavior of private security companies and prompted Iraqi politicians to denounce the U.S. justice system.
Abdul-Kadir said Blackwater's offer of compensation to those who had been injured or had family members killed was too low. He said he has asked the deputy speaker of Iraq's parliament to cancel the agreement that the plaintiff's lawyer Susan Burke reached Jan. 6.
"We have rejected the settlement because it is a small amount.
We won't accept such an amount," he said.
He added that none of the plaintiffs had yet received any money from the group, now known as Xe Services. It is not clear how many, if any, other plaintiffs will follow Abdul-Kadir's lead and continue to fight the company in court.
Another plaintiff had said the company had offered $30,000 for each person wounded in the 2007 incident in Nisoor Square and $100,000 to the families of the 17 killed.
On Dec. 31, a U.S. federal judge threw out criminal charges against the company, citing mistakes by prosecutors. Many Iraqis saw the decision as a confirmation of a long-held suspicion that U.S.
security contractors were above the law. The Iraqi government vowed to pursue the case and U.S. senator John McCain expressed his hope that it would be appealed.