February 13th was a momentous day! European asbestos billionaires Stephan Schmidheiny and Baron Luis de Cartier were found guilty, sentenced to 16 years in prison, and fined for punitive and environmental damages by an Italian criminal court for deliberately failing to warn its workers, their families, and residents living nearby about the dangers of asbestos. This represents the first time that executives of a company that manufactures and produces asbestos were found guilty of criminal charges relating to asbestos exposure!
For their years of hard work, congratulations and thank you to our friends in the battle against injustice – AFeVA for their 30 year of unwavering commitment to justice and solidarity efforts with ABREA, ANDEVA, ABEVA, IBAS, and others. Special thanks to Dr. Barry Castleman, who gave expert testimony. Representatives from these and other organizations from seven countries were present and joined a packed courthouse of Eternit victims, family members, and the international press in their tears and cheers at the verdict.
This is huge international news, as it sets a precedent for future criminal action against company executives who neglect the health and safety of their workers. Corporations and our governments must be responsible and held accountable for human, social, and environmental rights violations. As I shared with the press, “The Eternit case sent a signal around the world today. It is criminal to knowingly and willfully expose workers and families to asbestos, a known carcinogen. This is not just a landmark case for the workers, or the people of Italy, but rather represents an opportunity to redefine justice around the world. As asbestos victims, the guilty verdict for Eternit legally, symbolically, and definitively reaffirms the 100 years of scientific evidence that asbestos exposure is deadly.”
This news signifies that justice has been served; yet, we recognize that there is no “justice” for someone who has had to bury a loved one. Although all of us want our loved ones back, we can embrace this guilty Eternit verdict and significant legal victory to refuel our collaborative efforts with new evidence. Together, we can make a difference.
ADAO has videos from trial attorneys and experts and photos to share in the coming days – stay tuned!
For more information, see: Asbestos in the Dock
Center of Public Integrity: “Asbestos Deaths Brings 16 Year Sentence”
GBAN Blog from Yvonne Waterman: “Turin: The Largest Asbestos Trial Ever”
ADAO Blog: Stephan Schmidheiny Found Guilty
Linda Reinstein’s Social Networks