Daily archives: June 16, 2006

Victims lose Saudi torture case

The UK Governments position on torture was made clear again earlier this week in a case concerning Britons detained and tortured in Saudi Arabia.

From The Guardian

Four men who were arrested and subjected to “severe torture” in Saudi Arabia today lost their bid to sue those responsible for their treatment. Five law lords unanimously overturned a court of appeal ruling from October 2004 that cleared the way for Sandy Mitchell, Les Walker, Bill Sampson and Ron Jones to claim damages from the Saudi government and its officials.

The Saudi government, supported by the British government, argued its agents were protected by the State Immunity Act 1978 from proceedings in Britain

The four men today said they were “devastated” by the ruling and vowed to take the case to the European court of human rights.

Solicitor Tamsin Allen, who represents Mr Mitchell, Mr Sampson and Mr Walker, said: “The House of Lords have chosen to support the rights of states, including those who torture, over the rights of torture victims.


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Bottled up: why Coke stands accused of being too cosy with the Karimovs

From the Financial Times

“At the heart of the case is the question of what obligations a multinational faces in operating in countries where human rights abuses are common and there are few legal protections.”


14 June 2006

For nearly a decade, Coca-Cola’s bottling plant in Uzbekistan was a shining example of the successful strategy that has seen the company expand into more than 200 countries around the world.

The plant on the outskirts of the capital Tashkent, set up in 1992 and run under a joint venture with ties to the family of Islam Karimov, the Uzbek strongman, was twice selected as Coke’s “bottler of the year” in its Eurasia and Middle East region and was highly profitable, with volume growth of about 10 per cent annually.

But all that began to unravel five years ago, when the marriage between Mansur Maqsudi, Coke’s main partner in the plant, and Gulnora Karimova, the president’s Harvard-educated daughter, fell apart – in recriminations that are still being felt by the couple, their children and the Coca-Cola company.


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