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Wednesday, 27 March, 2002, 20:13 GMT
BBC 4 World Forum on slavery
George Alagiah put your questions to Lawyer Edward Fagan in a live forum for BBC 4.

  Click here to watch the forum.  

Three major US corporations accused of profiting from the slave trade before it was abolished almost 150 years ago are being taken to court by African Americans seeking compensation for the abuses suffered by their ancestors.

The lawsuit, which is to be filed on Tuesday in a New York federal court is the first of what is expected to be a deluge of claims against insurer Aetna, railroad firm CSX and financial services firm FleetBoston.

Plaintiff Deadria Farmer-Paellmann filed the suit on behalf of black Americans who can link their ancestry to slaves. As many as 100 additional corporate defendants could be added to the suit.

Lawyer Edward Fagan, who helped Holocaust survivors bring a series of lawsuits against Swiss banks and German companies said that this is a "logical continuation" in the process of seeking damages for unpaid slave labour and a share of corporate profits derived from slavery.

Do you support the action? Does this open the door for more lawsuits of this kind? What are the implications for international justice?

See also:

26 Mar 02 | Business
US firms face slave reparations suit
03 Jan 02 | Business
Dutch process Holocaust claims
20 Jun 01 | Europe
Nazi slave fund pays out
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