Coca-Cola Sued for Torture of Workers in Turkey
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
CONTACT: Terry Collingsworth, lead plaintiffs' counsel and
executive director, International Labor Rights Fund, 202-347-4100
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