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8 Aug 2011

Isabella Ordonez, Dow Jones Newswires [USA]

UPDATE: ExxonMobil Selling Gas Assets At Center Of Indonesia Human-Rights Lawsuit

Exxon Mobil...said Monday it is selling some of its depleting natural gas assets in Indonesia's Aceh province...The properties being marketed have been at the center of a lawsuit brought by Indonesian villagers that seeks to hold ExxonMobil...liable for alleged killings and torture committed by Indonesian soldiers guarding the assets. The lawsuit was thrown out by a trial judge in 2009, but a U.S. federal appeals court reinstated the case in early July, saying the suit had been wrongly dismissed...ExxonMobil didn't immediately respond to requests for comments on whether the sale was also motivated by the recent reinstatement of the human-rights lawsuit...ExxonMobil has recently said the plaintiffs' claims were baseless and that the company was reviewing the July ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which reinstated the lawsuit. Exxon has said it has worked for generations to improve the quality of life in Aceh through employment of local workers, provision of health services and extensive community investment. "The company strongly condemns human rights violations in any form," the company said.