Bhopal Gas Leak Verdict Sparks Anger

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More than 20 years after a gas leak killed thousands in Bhopal, an Indian court handed down verdicts against former executives of Union Carbide India Ltd, the factory where the leak happened. The court case took 23 years, with 178 witnesses and resulted in seven defendants being found guilty of homicide by negligence. But the sentences imposed were only for two years and because of the age of the defendants they were only fined $2100 and released on bail. Now this verdict is spurring outrage among activists all over the world reports India West. Activists are especially angry that the primary accused, former Union Carbide CEO Warren Anderson was not even present and is living in Florida after posting $800 bail in 1984 and leaving India. The Indian government has been accused of abetting the defendants and whittling down the charges from culpable homicide and allowing Union Carbide to liquidate its assets and abscond from India. Activists said the Indian government, in fact, has been giving Dow Chemicals, which bought Union Carbide, the red carpet treatment welcoming it to CEO forums. The United States said June 12 that it will give "fair consideration" to any new request from India to extradite Anderson. With the oil spill in the Gulf in the news, activists from the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal are hoping it will allow them to bring the plight of Bhopal victims to the forefront .Nearly 25.000 people are supposed to have died as a result of that exposure, over 100,000 have suffered from debilitating medical problems and many are still being born with birth defects.