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Netherlands: Court hears witnesses in landmark case against Shell for its involvement in the unlawful arrest, torture and execution of opponents in Nigeria

"Kiobel vs Shell: 4 Nigerian women take on the corporate machine", 24 September 2020.

Tomorrow, a Dutch court will hear witnesses in a landmark case brought by Esther Kiobel and three other women with regard to what they claim was Shell’s involvement in the unlawful arrest, torture and execution of their husbands by the Nigerian military.

This follows a hearing in October 2019, where four people have accused Shell of bribing witnesses to testify against the men during their trial in the 1990s...The trial, which was internationally described as unfair and politically motivated...led to Nigeria’s suspension from the Commonwealth...According to Amnesty International, which is supporting the plaintiffs, the executions marked the culmination of the Nigerian military’s ruthless campaign to silence protests of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (Mosop) against environmental devastation caused by Shell’s operations in the oil rich Ogoniland, Niger Delta...

Kiobel first filed a case against Shell in the US in 2002 but saw her case dismissed in 2013 when the Supreme Court ruled that it did not have jurisdiction to examine her allegations.

In 2017 she filed a new case in the Netherlands, together with Victoria Bera, Blessing Eawo and Charity Levula. The widows are demanding damages for harm caused by Shell’s actions and a public apology...

Shell has claimed that the events are too old and that the Netherlands does not have jurisdiction to rule over the case. However, in May 2019, a Dutch court ruled out these claims. Shell has also denied any involvement and claimed that its headquarters had no control over what was happening in Nigeria at that time...

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