More Delay in Wiwa v. Shell Trial as Public Interest in Case Heats Up

1 Jun 2009 admin


Next Pre-trial Conference in Wiwa v. Shell Now Set for Wednesday June 3rd

‘Video Shell Doesn’t Want You to See’ Viewed More Than 60,000 Times in Past Four Days

New York– There has been another postponement in the landmark human rights trial at which Shell is expected to defend itself against charges that it colluded with the Nigerian military to brutally suppress peaceful opposition to its operations in the Ogoni region of the Niger Delta in the 1990s. Meanwhile, a ‘campaign video’ removed from the plaintiffs’ website under court order after legal motions by Shell has been viewed more than 60,000 times on YouTube in only the past four days.

The trial had been set to begin with jury selection on Wednesday, May 27th in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan. On Tuesday, there was an 11th-hour postponement with no new trial date set. However, the court set a pre-trial conference with the two opposing counsel for Monday, June 1st. Late on Friday, May 29th, the court announced that the Monday conference is pushed back to Wednesday, June 3rd at 2pm.


On May 12th, Shell’s lawyers filed a motion opposing the admission of prominent human rights attorney Paul Hoffman to serve as trial counsel for the plaintiffs, citing the fact that he had posted a link on his law firm’s website to a video on the plaintiffs’ website. The motion refers to the “plaintiffs’ ‘campaign video’ that [the defendants] have previously raised with the Court.” The court ruled against the defendants’ motion to oppose admission of Mr. Hoffman to serve as trial counsel for the plaintiffs, but ordered the removal of the video from the plaintiffs’ educational website about the case.

The ShellGuilty campaign re-posted the video, dubbing it ‘The Video Shell Doesn’t Want You to See,’ and wrote about Shell’s attempts to suppress it in an article on Huffington Post, which was widely circulated via social networking sites such as Digg, Twitter, and Facebook. The video lays out the plaintiffs’ case against Shell, and includes documentary footage of the late Ken Saro-Wiwa, leading Ogoni activist who was hanged by the Nigerian military in 1995 along with eight fellow activists. The plaintiffs, including Saro-Wiwa’s son Ken Saro-Wiwa Jr., assert that Shell conspired with the Nigeria military in the prosecution and execution of the men, known as the ‘Ogoni 9.’

Beginning last Thursday, news of the impending trial and the video shot around the web. The video has been seen more than 60,000 times since Thursday. The video and article can be viewed here:

In addition, ShellGuilty campaign supporters have sent more than 10,000 letters to Shell CEO Jeroen van den Veer to deman an end to gas flaring in Nigeria, one of the key abuses that has animated opposition to Shell in the Niger Delta for decades and continues to this day. The ShellGuilty campaign is gearing up for a high-profile escalation of its activities in order to keep the spotlight on this historic case.

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ShellGuilty on Facebook:

U.S.:       Celia Alario, (310) 721-6517, [email protected]
Han Shan, (917) 418-4133, [email protected]
UK:         Benjamin, +44 207 357 0055, [email protected]

The ShellGuilty campaign is a coalition effort of Friends of the Earth (, Oil Change International (, and PLATFORM’s Remember Saro-Wiwa project (, with support from environmental and human rights groups in Nigeria, North America, and Europe. Visit for more information.

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