A court concludes that the oil giant wasn't involved in execution and corrupting the witnesses in the trial of the Ogoni 9, a group that was opposing the group's exploitation of oil resources.

Among  Ogoni 9 was the Nigerian writer and campaigner Ken Saro-Wiwa, who led the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP).
Among Ogoni 9 was the Nigerian writer and campaigner Ken Saro-Wiwa, who led the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP). (Reuters)

A Dutch court has rejected a case brought by four Nigerian widows against oil giant Shell over their husbands' execution by the military regime that ruled their country in the 1990s.

They accused Shell of involvement in the arrest, detention, prosecution and eventual execution of their husbands, who opposed the group's exploitation of oil resources in Ogoni, southern Nigeria.

But the Dutch court ruled on Wednesday that their position was based on interpretation and supposition and that they had no evidence to back their accusations.

The widows' complaint alleged that Shell had been involved in corrupting witnesses in the trial of the so-called Ogoni 9, who in November 1995 were convicted by a military tribunal for involvement in the murder of four Ogoni leaders.

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Witnesses had testified to the court that they had signed preprepared statements and had been coached to incriminate the defendants, in return for the promise of payments and jobs. 

They said they had been told that the money they received came from Shell.

But "the statements are largely based on assumptions and interpretations of the witnesses and are not specific enough to be able to conclude that the money they have stated actually came from (Shell)", said a court statement.

All the defendants insisted they were innocent of the charges against them and rights organisations including Amnesty have argued that their trial was a sham.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies