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10 Nov 2014

Deighton Pierce Glynn

Kidnapped Colombian trade unionist sues oil companies

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On 6 November, a letter before claim was sent to BP, and other oil companies linked to BP claiming damages from them for the false imprisonment and torture of Gilberto Torres, a Colombian trade unionist…[I]n 2002 he was kidnapped by paramilitaries on his way home from work in an oil pumping station in the Casanare region. There followed 42 days of false imprisonment during which he was chained, assaulted…The paramilitaries involved were closely linked to the Colombian army, who were employed to guard the oil pumping station and received payments from OCENSA. Gilberto was employed by the Colombian oil company Ecopetrol, which jointly owned OCENSA with BP subsidiary BPXC. BP or their subsidiaries had been making payments to the army. Gilberto had been effective in promoting the rights of workers and the local community…In 2012 as part of the demobilisation process, a number of paramilitaries involved in the crime were convicted; they said they had been ordered to carry out the kidnapping by the multinationals…

Part of the following timelines

BP sued in UK for complicity in kidnap & torture of trade unionist in Colombia; company denies allegations

BP lawsuit (re Casanare, Colombia, filed in the UK)