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US court throws out Chiquita terror payment claims involving thousands of Colombian deaths

MIAMI - A divided U.S. federal appeals court has thrown out claims against produce giant Chiquita Brands International made by thousands of Colombians killed during years of civil war.

A panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that federal courts have no jurisdiction over the Colombian claims. The lawsuits accused Chiquita of assisting in the killings by paying $1.7 million to a right-wing paramilitary group. Chiquita formerly operated large banana plantations in Colombia.

The majority cited a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling imposing limits on attempts by foreigners to use U.S. courts to seek damages for human rights abuses abroad.

Chiquita praised the ruling in a written statement. Attorneys for the estimated 4,000 Colombians may ask the full 11th Circuit or the Supreme Court to consider the case.

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