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Eugene Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-26-07 03:44 PM
Original message
Drummond cleared in landmark Colombia rights case
Source: Reuters

Drummond cleared in landmark Colombia rights case
Thu Jul 26, 2007 3:53PM EDT

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., July 26 (Reuters) - U.S. coal company
Drummond was acquitted on Thursday of liability over the
killing of three union leaders in 2001 at a mine it operates in
Colombia in what legal experts viewed as a landmark case.

The jury in the civil trial rejected the plaintiffs' accusation
that privately held Drummond Co. Inc. gave support to right-
wing paramilitaries who carried out the killings and was thus
liable for the deaths.

The families' lawyers said Drummond hired the masked gunmen
who killed Drummond employees Valmore Locarno and Victor
Orcasita in March 2001 and Gustavo Soler seven months later.


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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-26-07 04:08 PM
Response to Original message
1. Maybe next time this happens, something can be done to prevent the death squad employers
from getting the colluding cheap labor host from suppressing the vital witness's testimony. I think many people saw this coming, and what a shame:
Drummond Union: Govt Muffles Key Witness
By FRANK BAJAK 07.24.07, 2:02 PM ET

BOGOTA, Colombia - The union activists suing U.S. coal company Drummond Co. Inc. in Alabama in the 2001 murders of three labor leaders say deliberate foot-dragging by Colombian authorities is preventing the jury from hearing their star witness.

"The strategy of these people is to delay the process so the trial ends without this evidence being presented," said Francisco Ramirez, a union official working with the plaintiffs. "They're giving us the runaround."

Concerned by the delay, 12 Democrats in the U.S. Congress wrote Colombia's vice president last week asking him to intercede.

There is also worry over the safety of the witness, Rafael Garcia, who is in a maximum-security Bogota prison.

The Democrat who chairs a House subcommittee on international human rights, Rep. William Delahunt, wrote President Alvaro Uribe last month asking he guarantee protection for Garcia.
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-26-07 04:18 PM
Response to Original message
2. !@#$%!!!!! nuf said.
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-26-07 04:50 PM
Response to Original message
3. The Steelworkers plan to appeal. Maybe Drummond's influence, outside its home state
won't be as powerful this time. It would be a shame to see these monsters escape justice.
"We will be swiftly appealing," said Terry Collingsworth, executive director of the International Labor Rights Fund, which filed the suit in March 2002 with the Pittsburgh-based United Steelworkers union. The suit sought unspecified damages on behalf of the dead union leaders' families.
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Omaha Steve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-27-07 10:39 AM
Response to Original message
4. NYT: Alabama Company Is Exonerated in Murders at Colombian Mine
Source: New York Times


BIRMINGHAM, Ala., July 26 A federal jury found on Thursday that Drummond, an Alabama-based coal company, was not liable for the deaths of three union leaders at its mine near La Loma, Colombia, in 2001.

The case, which ended after a two-week trial in Federal District Court here, was the first of its kind to go to trial under the Alien Tort Statute, a 218-year-old law that labor unions and human rights advocates have recently used to sue American corporations over abuses in developing countries. However, the jury dismissed the plaintiffs accusations that Drummond had aided in the murders of the union leaders.

We said from the beginning that the allegations were not true, and we are gratified that a jury of 10 people could hear the evidence and agree, a Drummond lawyer, William Jeffress, said after the verdict.

Drummond, a subsidiary of the Drummond Company, began mining coal in Colombia in 1996. It now operates the worlds largest open-pit coal mine there, where last year it extracted about 25 million tons of coal.

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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-27-07 10:39 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. Which Loyal Bushie heard the case? n/t
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-27-07 10:39 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. The evidence Drummond and Colombia were able to keep out was critical:
Edited on Fri Jul-27-07 10:44 AM by Judi Lynn
U.S. Seeks Intel Officer's Testimony
Lawmakers query Colombian VP in suit against U.S. firm

Ludwig De Braeckeleer (ludwig)

Published 2007-07-22 02:41 (KST)

Drummond, an Alabama-based mining corporation, is fighting a lawsuit in a Birmingham federal court for crimes committed in Colombia. The company, which operates large facilities in La Loma, Colombia, is charged with hiring paramilitary gunmen in 2001 to kidnap, torture and murder three Colombian union leaders.

This week, 12 U.S. lawmakers sent a letter to Colombian Vice President Francisco Santos asking him to make a former intelligence officer available for testimony.

The former officer, Rafael Garcia, has previously claimed that he witnessed Augusto Jimenez, Drummond's top executive in Colombia, personally giving $200,000 in cash to the leader of an armed group as payment for the killings of Valmore Locarno Rodriquez and Victor Hugo Orcasita.

U.S. District Judge Karon Bowdre has ruled that the attorneys representing the families of the victims could present Garcia's testimony either by videoconferencing or by a sworn statement. "His testimony could be very damning to the coal company," Bowdre wrote.

According to the Pittsburgh-based United Steelworkers, which is suing on behalf of the families, Vice President Santos promised last May to make Garcia available for testimony. But so far, the Colombian government has failed to act on the promise. On Monday, the trial will enter its third week and is expected to last another two weeks.

"The civil trial has already begun, and we understand that if there is no response this week that the Colombian government will permit this deposition, Mr. Garcia's testimony will not be allowed for use by the court," the U.S. congressmen wrote in their letter.

The 12 lawmakers who signed the petition are Michael Michaud (Maine), Raul Grijalva (Ariz.), Jan Schakowsky and Phil Hare (Ill.), Dale Kildee (Mich.) Linda Sanchez and Brad Sherman (Calif.), Stephen Lynch and James McGovern (Mass.), Betty Sutton (Ohio), Lloyd Doggett (Texas) and Dave Loebsack (Iowa).

Without Garcia's testimony, there is little evidence directly linking Drummond officials to the right-wing militiamen that murdered the three union leaders.


Slick piece of work, Drummond, and your Colombian host, Bush's little pal, Alvaro Uribe. You are undoubtedly so proud of yourselves.
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