Colombians Sue Chiquita for Torture, Murder

Suit charges produce giant helped arm paramilitary 'terrorists'
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 15, 2007 5:42 AM CST
Victims of Colombia's bloody civil conflict filed an almost $8 billion lawsuit against the U.S. banana importer Chiquita Brands International Inc. on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2007 for making payments to a...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – American produce giant Chiquita Brands is being sued by almost 400 Colombian families charging "torture and murder" of their loved ones on the company's watch, reports CNN. Earlier this year the company pleaded guilty to aiding a Colombian paramilitary group considered a terrorist organization by the US. The $7.86 billion lawsuit, filed yesterday in New York, alleges that the company actually facilitated arms shipments to the group.

"When you put guns into the hands of terrorists, then you are legally responsible for the atrocities, the murders and the tortures that those terrorists commit," said an attorney representing the families. Chiquita strongly denies the charges, characterizing the company as a target of "extortion." Officials have conceded that they paid "protection money" to groups to safeguard their workers and operations.