Talisman Energy challenges Sudan human rights lawsuit
Canada’s Talisman Energy continues to be subject to a lawsuit brought by the Presbyterian Church of Sudan and three individual plaintiffs regarding charges of the company’s alliance with the National Islamic Front Government of Sudan and its campaign against non-Muslims.
The complaint alleges that Talisman knowingly participated in the government's campaign against non-Islamic population residing in the vicinity of the company’s oil exploration, extraction and transportation infrastructure.
In March 2003, Talisman completed a deal to sell its interest in Sudan’s Greater Nile Oil Project to India’s ONGC Videsh for $1.2 billion. The sale of the shares may have been related to recent protests by the international community, including Amnesty International, that the company was indirectly contributing to human rights violations in the Arab state.
According to the claimants, Talisman provided financial and logistical support for the Sudanese military. The roads and airfields built and maintained by Talisman served as strategic military assets for the armed forces who used them to launch bombing runs and ground attacks on civilian targets.
In July, Talisman filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit for lack of personal jurisdiction of the court over Talisman. In August, the plaintiffs filed a motion seeking certification of the case as a class action. Talisman is in the process of challenging this certification. No decision is expected on either of these motions until 2004.
In a mandatory disclosure served in September 2003, the plaintiffs named the compensatory and punitive damage amounts they are claiming. Talisman regards these claims to be entirely without merit and is continuing to defend itself against this lawsuit.
Talisman acquired a 25 percent interest in the Greater Nile Oil Project in October 1998 through the acquisition of Arakis Energy for approximately 8.9 million common shares of Talisman. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)