Apr 26 2013

Global Post: Indonesians sue ExxonMobil in US court

Newswire | Published 26 Apr 2013, 8:41 am | Comments Off on Global Post: Indonesians sue ExxonMobil in US court -

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LHOKSEUMAWE, Aceh — Syukri A-Wahap still bears scars from the two days he spent tied to a chair at a military checkpoint here in northern Indonesia in 2003.

Indonesian soldiers who suspected he was aiding separatist rebels used their guns to try and beat a confession out of him. With the butt of an SS1 rifle they cracked his skull and busted his lower lip.

Syukri says he now suffers from short-term memory loss, pointing to a zigzag scar beneath a shock of thick, black hair.

“I didn’t feel anything,” he said, recalling the lengthy interrogations. “It felt like I was already dead.”

His story is one of thousands involving kidnap, torture, rape and murder at the hands of the Indonesian military, which some victims here say was aided by US oil giant ExxonMobil.

In 2001, 11 villagers in Indonesia’s Aceh province brought a lawsuit against ExxonMobil and its Indonesian affiliate, saying the company is responsible for human rights abuses committed by Indonesian soldiers guarding its natural gas pipeline and processing facility at Arun. At the time, Arun was one of the world’s most lucrative natural gas projects.

According to a complaint filed with the US Federal District Court in Washington, DC, in June 2001, ExxonMobil, “directly supported these human rights abuses by supporting the military security forces in an effort to protect defendants’ interest in the project.”

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