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Last Updated: Friday, 24 February 2006, 10:35 GMT
Ford sued over Argentine abuses
Argentine "Mothers of the Disappeared" protest in 1979
Rights groups say 30,000 people were killed under military rule
Former workers of an Argentine Ford factory are suing the firm over what they say were serious abuses during the military rule of the 1970s and 80s.

They say local managers conspired with the security forces to have union members taken to a detention centre on the premises, where they were tortured.

Ford has in the past denied torture took place on its property.

Several foreign firms have been probed by the Truth Commission, which said abductions of union members did occur.


The civil suit against Ford Motor Company and Ford Argentina also calls for four former company executives and a retired military officer to be questioned.

We were hooded, beaten, forced to face mock firing squads and tortured
Pedro Troiani
The former union activists allege that Ford managers plotted and executed a precise plan to violently get rid of union activities at the plant 40km (25 miles) north of Buenos Aires.

One of the plaintiffs, Pedro Troiani, alleges: "Some of us were kidnapped by the military inside the factory and taken to a clandestine, makeshift detention centre near the factory's sports centre.

"There we were hooded, beaten, forced to face mock firing squads and tortured. Some were given electric shocks."

Another says those kidnapped were transported in vehicles supplied by the company.

The former workers are seeking an undetermined amount in financial compensation and a public apology. They also want Ford to erect a memorial at the factory.

The company has so far refused to comment on this case. But, in the past, it has categorically denied any abuses took place in its factories.

A number of foreign firms have been accused of having aided human-rights abuses in Argentina in the late 1970s.

Human rights groups say that 30,000 people were killed under military rule in Argentina between 1976 and 1983 in what became known as the Dirty War.

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