Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Shell settles Nigeria killings (Al Jazeera English)

News Americas

Shell settles Nigeria killings suit

Shell was accused of colluding with Nigeria's government to silence rights activists [GALLO/GETTY]

Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to settle a lawsuit accusing the firm of complicity in the executions of human rights activists in Nigeria for $15.5m, the families of those killed have said.

The settlement agreement came on Monday as the more than decade-long dispute was due to go to trial in a district court in New York.

The lawsuit accused Shell of human rights abuses, including violations in relation to the hangings in 1995 of Ken Saro-Wiwa, a well-known rights activist, and eight other protesters by Nigeria's then-military government.

Shell, which still operates in Nigeria, said it had agreed to settle the lawsuit in the hope of aiding the "process of reconciliation", but acknowledged no wrongdoing in the case.

"This gesture also acknowledges that, even though Shell had no part in the violence that took place, the plaintiffs and others have suffered,'' Malcolm Brinded, Shell's executive director for exploration and production, said in a statement on Monday.

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Source: Al Jazeera and agencies