18 Oct 2016

Widow Set to Drag Shell to Court Over Her Husband's Execution by Gen. Sani Abacha...See Details

A woman whose husband was killed in the height of General Sani Abacha's reign, is set to take drastic steps to seek justice.

Mrs Esther Kiobel, the widow of a Nigerian activist, Barinem Kiobel, is planning to sue Royal Dutch Shell in the Dutch courts.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the woman alleged that the oil company was complicit in the execution of her husband, Barinem Kiobel, by the Sani Abacha-led Nigerian military in 1995, court documents filed in the U.S. last week show.

Barinem was arrested in 1994 along with Ken Saro-Wiwa and seven other leaders of Movement for the Survival of the Ogono People. They were executed in 1995 and their bodies were dumped in unmarked graves in a Port Harcourt cemetery.

Esther has filed an application in New York to secure documents from Shell’s U.S. lawyers, which she could use in the Dutch action.

The filings with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District Court of New York said she planned to begin that action before the end of the year.

“Kiobel will demonstrate that Shell encouraged, facilitated, and conspired with the Nigerian government to commit human rights violations against the Ogoni people,” a memorandum in the application filed last week said.

According to Shell spokesman, “Shell remains firmly committed to supporting fundamental human rights in line with the legitimate role of business.

“We have always denied, in the strongest possible terms, the allegations made by the plaintiffs in this tragic case.”

Kiobel previously took her lawsuit to the U.S. but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that the case could not be heard because the alleged activities took place outside the country.

In 2009 prior to that ruling Shell had agreed in the U.S. to pay 15.5 million dollars to settle lawsuits related to other activists executed at the same time as Barinem Kiobel, including author and environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa.

Kiobel’s lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday.

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