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25 Jan 2011

Brent Kendall, Dow Jones

US Appeals Court Weighs Consequences of Indonesians' Lawsuit Against Exxon

A federal appeals court on Tuesday explored the potential consequences of allowing Indonesian villagers to sue Exxon Mobil Corp. for alleged atrocities committed by Indonesian soldiers guarding a natural gas plant in the Aceh province. A group of villagers alleges the soldiers, serving as Exxon's security forces, murdered, tortured, raped and kidnapped local residents…Exxon says the claims are baseless and argued in court that there were a host of reasons the lawsuit should be thrown out…Agnieszka Fryszman, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said the soldiers were " essentially privatized" and were under Exxon's control. She said the company was legally responsible for the soldiers' actions.