Accused of complicity in the death of nine Nigerian militants ( including writer Ken Saro-Wiwa ) executed by the Nigerian government in 1995, Anglo-Dutch petroleum giant Shell has paid out $15.5m (€11m) to the victim’s families in order to avoid a trial before an American court. According to Dutch daily Trouw, it’s regrettable that the affair has been concluded out of court, since now the truth will probably never come out as to the extent of Shell’s involvement. “The legal process would have unleashed emotions in the Niger Delta region,” says Trouw. “In this light, the settlement looks like a good solution for all parties concerned. On the other hand, it would have been an excellent opportunity to put the spotlight on Shell’s activities in the Delta. The accusations are very serious – we are talking of complicity to murder here. It’s therefore deeply unfortunate that this has been settled out of court.” Trouw is also furious that the affair was not set to go to trial in Holland, where Shell, after all, is based.
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