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Exxon Mobil Settles Indonesians’ Long-Running Abuse Suit

The Wall Street Journal

May 15, 2023

Agreement resolves 22-year-old case ahead of trial this month

Exxon Mobil has reached a settlement with Indonesian villagers who sued the oil giant more than 20 years ago for alleged human-rights abuses by contract soldiers hired to guard the company’s operations in Aceh province.

The settlement, announced in a court filing Monday, comes ahead of a widely anticipated trial that was scheduled to begin May 24. The villagers sued in U.S. court in 2001, alleging the soldiers committed atrocities including sexual assault, torture, and murder at or near ExxonMobil’s large natural gas operations in the Arun field.

Terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed.

Agnieszka Fryszman, lead counsel for 11 villagers who were plaintiffs, said, “We are so pleased that now, on the eve of trial, we were able to secure a measure of justice for them and their families.”

“We represented women and children who saw their fathers shot to death, a woman who was forced to jump up and down repeatedly while eight months pregnant and then sexually assaulted, and men who were detained and subjected to electric shocks, burned, and had graffiti scored on their backs with a knife,” Ms. Fryszman said.

Read the complete article in The Wall Street Journal (subscription required).