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Documentary Film Leads to Landmark Legal Case


Swedish film director Lars Edman has been summoned to appear as a witness in a land-mark trial that kicked off yesterday in his home town of Skellefteå, Northern Sweden. The case against Swedish mining corporation Boliden has been brought to court by Arica Victims KB, a newly formed Swedish company representing nearly 800 Chileans from Arica who have suffered from multiple health problems since toxic waste was dumped in their town in 1985.

Still from Toxic Playground by Lars Edman
and William Johansson (Laika Film, Television AB)

Edman and his co-director William Johansson exposed the case of the Arica Victims in the award winning documentary Toxic Playground, which prompted Lewis Gordon, executive director of the Enivronmental Law Defender Centre in the U.S. to begin a collaboration with a Swedish legal team led by attorney Johan Oberg.

"The film has been invaluable to us. You have the sense of travelling to the affected areas yourself. It contains important information about documents and the sequence of events", said Lewis Gordon in a statement.

Arica Victims KB vs. Boliden will be the largest transnational corporate accountability case ever brought to a European court outside of England and the biggest trial ever held in Skellefteå, a town synonymous with Boliden since it’s foundation during the Västerbotten gold rush in 1924.

Boliden are defending their decision to ship over 20,000 tonnes of toxic waste containing high levels of lead, arsenic and mercury, via a now defunct Chilean partner.

It gives the wrong impression if we are to take responsibility for the mistakes of others", said Boliden Director of Communications Klas Nilson in advance of the proceedings.

The court will watch evidence from over 30 hours of material filmed during the production of Toxic Playground, featuring the Boliden employee responsible for allowing the toxic waste to leave Sweden. The trial is set to continue for the next eight weeks.

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