Coca-Cola Sued for Torture of Workers in Turkey
AScribe Newswire
November 15, 2005

WASHINGTON -- The International Labor Rights Fund will sue Coca-Cola in Federal District Court in Manhattan on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2005, on behalf of 14 truck drivers and other transport workers employed by the soft drink giant at its facilities in Istanbul, Turkey, and some of the workers' spouses and children.

The complaint will be filed under the Alien Tort Claims Act, a U.S. law passed in 1793 that allows foreign nationals to sue individuals and companies living or doing business in the U.S. for civil damages when they commit serious crimes abroad, including murder, torture, rape and slavery.

The Turkish plaintiffs allege that Coke called in the notoriously brutal Turkish "special branch" police (Cevik Kuvvet) to break up a peaceful protest by the families of workers who were summarily fired by the company for joining a labor union. At the direction of Coca-Cola managers, the nearly 1,000 riot police seriously injured young children, their mothers and some of the workers with a particularly harsh form of tear gas and brutal beatings.

In addition to damages, the plaintiffs are asking the court to enjoin Coca Cola from continuing to claim, falsely, to its European and U.S. customers that it respects the rights of workers in the conduct of its business.

CONTACT: Terry Collingsworth, lead plaintiffs' counsel and executive director, International Labor Rights Fund, 202-347-4100 or 202-255-2198

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