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Editors: Royal Dutch Shell Settles in Ken Saro-Wiwa Case

June 9, 2009

As reported by the BBC earlier today, Royal Dutch Shell has reached a settlement of $15.5 million in a case brought against the company for their alleged involvement in the execution of the iconic Nigerian writer and environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa thirteen years ago.

According to the BBC article, “Lawyer Judith Chomsky from the Centre for Constitutional Rights and Ken Saro-Wiwa Junior described their satisfaction with the outcome.”

On May 2 Guernica co-sponsored an event along with PEN World Voices, “Standing Before History: Remembering Ken Saro-Wiwa,” where Ken Wiwa, Jr. and bestselling novelist Richard North Patterson discussed Saro-Wiwa’s legacy, Nigeria now, and the then upcoming landmark trial.

Read the transcript of that discussion here.

To read the BBC article on the settlement, click here.

Also reporting on this story today was Yale Environment 360 (e360.yale.edu):

KenSaroWiwa-2-110.jpg“Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to pay $15.5 million to family members of a slain environmental activist and other plaintiffs who accused the company of working with the Nigerian military junta to crush protests against the company’s pollution of the Niger River delta. The settlement came on the eve of a New York trial in which the son and brother of murdered activist Ken Saro-Wiwa were suing Shell for working with the military regime to silence criticism from environmental activists from the Ogoni tribe. Saro-Wiwa was hung by the regime in 1995 after he led a campaign to force Royal Dutch Shell to cease polluting the Niger delta, home to roughly 500,000 Ogoni. Saro-Wiwa and others accused Shell of causing several thousand oil spills, lighting natural gas flares that covered villages in soot, and destroying mangroves to make way for pipelines. Shell said it was making the payment to the ten plaintiffs as a “humanitarian gesture” and denied any involvement in the execution of Saro-Wiwa or other human rights abuses.”

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