The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

David Lerner,
Riptide Communications (212) 260-5000 or (917) 612-5656

Goldman Prize Recipients Issue Open Letter Hailing Trial Against Royal/Dutch Shell for Execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa

Landmark Trial Begins Next Month in New York


recipients of the Goldman Environmental Prize issued an open letter today to
coincide with the 2009 prize awards, hailing the landmark human rights trial
against multinational oil giant Royal Dutch/Shell (Shell) that will begin on
May 26th in federal court in New
York City. The charges against Shell include
complicity in the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa, who won the Goldman Prize in 1995
and was hanged seven months later because of his leadership in a nonviolent
movement opposed to Shell's practices in the Ogoni region of the Niger

I and other Goldman Prize recipients spoke out publicly in memory of our
brother, Ken Saro-Wiwa, raising our voices in unity to call for environmental
justice, corporate accountability, and respect for human rights - in
Ogoni and around the globe," said Ka Hsaw Wa, a 1999 Goldman Prize
recipient and the Executive Director of EarthRights International, the
organization that is co-counsel for Wiwa v.
with the Center for Constitutional Rights. "We mourn Ken
Saro-Wiwa's unjust and untimely death, but also celebrate his and the
Ogoni people's victory in exposing Shell's human rights abuses in Nigeria
to the world."

case going to trial on May 26th is a watershed for the global human
rights movement," said Marco Simons, Legal Director of EarthRights
International. "Wiwa v. Shell
holds Shell accountable for its devastating actions in Ogoni, and the letter
from Goldman Prize winners today affirms the hope the case has given to
affected communities everywhere that corporations will no longer be able to
operate outside the law with impunity."

Saro-Wiwa received the Goldman Prize - the "Nobel prize of the
environmental movement" - on April 17th, 1995, for his leadership
in the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), a powerful
non-violent movement that opposed the exploitation of the Ogoni people and
their resources by Shell and the Nigerian government. Shell colluded with the
Nigerian military forces in the November 10th, 1995, hanging of Ken Saro-Wiwa
and eight other Ogoni leaders.

in Wiwa v. Shell include family
members of executed activists Ken Saro-Wiwa, John Kpuinen, Dr. Barinem Kiobel,
Saturday Doobee, Daniel Gbokoo and Felix Nuate; relatives of Uebari N-nah, who
was shot and killed during a peaceful protest against Shell; and survivors
Michael Tema Vizor, Karololo Kogbara and Ken Saro-Wiwa's brother, Dr.
Owens Wiwa.

The open
letter is available at

For more
information about Wiwa v. Shell,

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. CCR is committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

(212) 614-6464