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The Wiwa family lawsuits against Royal Dutch Shell are three separate lawsuits brought by the family of Ken Saro-Wiwa against Royal Dutch Shell, its subsidiary Shell Nigeria and the subsidiary's CEO Brian Anderson, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York under the Alien Tort Statute, the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1992 and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). They are charged with complicity in human rights abuses against the Ogoni people in the Niger Delta, including summary execution, crimes against humanity, torture, inhumane treatment, arbitrary arrest, wrongful death, and assault and battery. The lawsuits were filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and co-counsel from EarthRights International in 1996, and after 12 years[citation needed] of Shell petitioning the court not to hear the cases,[1] they were heard 26 May 2009.

File:Mural of Ken Saro-Wiwa.jpg

Mural of Ken Saro-Wiwa in County Mayo, Ireland

The particular incidents raised in these cases were:

American photojournalist Ed Kashi's images from the book Curse of the Black Gold: 50 Years of Oil in the Niger Delta were deposed as evidence of the human rights abuses that the oil industry, particularly Shell, has inflicted on the Ogoni people.[citation needed]

On June 8, 2009, Shell settled out-of-court with the Saro-Wiwa family for $15.5 million.[2][3] Ben Amunwa, director of the Remember Saro-Wiwa organization, said that "No company, that is innocent of any involvement with the Nigeria military and human rights abuses, would settle out of court for 15.5 million dollars. It clearly shows that they have something to hide".[4]

Shell stated the payment was a humanitarian gesture and a gesture of sympathy, denying culpability in the death of Ken Saro-Wiwa death and the deaths of the other so-called Ogoni Nine.[5]


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