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Commentary :: Human Rights
BTL:Shell Oil Faces Accusers in New York Court Over the Execution of Nigerian Activists
02 Jun 2009
BETWEEN THE LINES Syndicated Radio Newsmagazine
Shell Oil Faces Accusers in New York Court Over the Execution of Nigerian Activists

Interview with Steve Kretzmann, executive director of Oil Change International, conducted by Scott Harris

During the mid-1990's, Nigerian author and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa led a movement to challenge oil giant Royal Dutch Shell for their environmental devastation of the land and abuse of local people as they drilled for oil in the Niger Delta region. In 1994, Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogani tribal leaders in his movement were accused by the former Nigerian military regime of murdering four Ogani Chiefs. After a special military court found the activists guilty of what human rights groups claim were trumped up charges, the nine accused were hanged on Nov. 10, 1995.

Now, 14 years after Saro-Wiwa's execution, Shell Oil Company will soon face the dead activists' supporters and allies in a New York City courtroom. Shell stands accused of requesting the assistance of the Nigerian military to silence Saro-Wiwa and his movement, which led to the 1995 executions and other crimes against humanity in the Niger Delta.

The corporate world is watching this case closely, as a ruling in the 10 plaintiffs favor could usher in a new era of corporate accountability through U.S. courts. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Steve Kretzmann, executive director of Oil Change International, who is coordinating the ShellGuilty campaign to focus attention to the Saro-Wiwa case. Kretzmann provides some background in the lawsuit and explains what's at stake for restraining criminal corporate conduct in the developing world.

Learn more about the Wiwa v. Shell case by visiting the group's website at

Related links:

* Oil Change International at
* Remember Saro-Wiwa at at


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"Between The Lines" is a half-hour syndicated radio news magazine that each week features a summary of under-reported news stories and interviews with activists and journalists who offer progressive perspectives on international, national and regional political, economic and social issues. Because "Between The Lines" is independent of all publications, media networks or political parties, we are able to bring a diversity of voices to the airwaves generally ignored or marginalized by the major media. For more information on this week's topics and to check out our text archive listing topics and guests presented in previous programs visit:
"Between the Lines," WPKN 89.5 FM's weekly radio news magazine can be heard Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. ET; Wednesdays at 8 a.m. ET and Saturdays at 2 p.m. ET (Wednesday's show airs at 7:30 a.m. ET during fundraising months of April and October).
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Weekly Summary" which features a RealAudio link to the week's program for Between The Lines, send an email to btlsummary-subscribe (at)
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©2009 Between The Lines. All Rights Reserved.
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