26 April 2006
Mr Steve Crawshaw
Human Rights Watch
2nd Floor, 2-12 Pentonville Road
London N1 9HF, UK
Tel: 44 20 7713 1995, Fax: 44 20 7713 1800
Dear Mr Crawshaw
The text in italics below is the heading and opening paragraphs of a letter I sent to Mr James Ross at Human Rights Watch on 7th February. I received no response.
THE PERSECUTION OF DR JOHN HUONG BY A MULTINATIONAL GIANT
I note that your organizations focus is understandably directed mainly towards evil regimes that resort to repression and torture.
It is a fact of life in the 21st century that some multinational companies are as wealthy, powerful and influential as many Countries. Although I know of none that resort to physical torture, I would like to draw your attention to a multinational which is using tactics against a former employee, Dr John Huong, which are so reprehensible that in my humble opinion, they amount to psychological torture.
Dr Huong, a Malaysian national, was an employee of Royal Dutch Shell for 29 years. He is a deeply religious man of the very highest integrity. He is also a humanitarian. For example, in 2003 Dr Huong offered his professional services as a geologist free of payment or compensation, to help in an Iraqi water irrigation project. I have evidence of the relevant email correspondence.
Strangely, his moral convictions actually brought about his downfall at Shell.
The entire letter can be assessed via the link below. I hope someone will kindly read it. The subsequent link is to a related email sent to Mr Ross by Dr Huong. To the best of my knowledge, he has also received no response.
As is revealed in my letter to Human Rights Watch, Dr Huong is embroiled in litigation with Shell. Although he has not been found guilty of anything (Shell’s defamation case against him has not yet been heard) Dr Huong continues to be terrorised by Shell lawyers. He was subjected to written threats of imprisonment from the outset and again as recently as a few weeks ago in NOTICE TO SHOW CAUSE proceedings in Malaysia.
On 19th April, Shell’s lawyers upped the ante by arriving at his home in the dark without any prior notice to serve further Injunction proceedings on him (at 8.21pm). This was a reprehensible shock tactic clearly designed to intimidate him and his family, which includes young children.
In these latest proceedings the EIGHT Royal Dutch Shell Plaintiff companies suing him for alleged libel are apparently demanding the removal from websites owned and operated by me (with the aid of my son, John), certain items, including at least one of the emails above sent to Human Rights Watch.
We cannot be certain of the items specified for removal from our websites under the court proceedings. This is because no-one will identify the relevant items. Dr Huong is under threat of imprisonment for supplying previous court documents to us (which were in the public domain) and is also restrained from supplying us with other information.
At the same time, he is under instruction in the latest injunctive proceedings to delete the relevant items from my websites, even though he has no control or influence over them. What it boils down to is that Dr Huong is in the extraordinary situation of being under threat of being jailed if he gives information to us and jailed if he doesn’t.
On 20th April I wrote to TH Liew, the Malaysian solicitors to explain this dilemma. The letter is accessible via the link below. I received no response. The letter was also copied to the lawyers acting for Dr Huong and to the High Court of Malaya. There has been no response thus far from either of these parties.
I also sent a copy by email to the General Counsel for Shell International Petroleum Company Limited, Mr Richard Wiseman, who is based in London. I received a brief mischievous email reply on Monday 23rd April. His email and my response on the same date are accessible via the following link: –
As indicated we are in the position whereby no one – Dr Huong, his lawyers, the external lawyers acting for Shell, nor Shell’s own in-house General Counsel, have been willing to spell out precisely what Shell wants from us as the joint authors and sole publishers of ALL of the alleged defamatory statements and the sole publishers of associated information, correspondence and documents to which Shell has taken exception.
For the avoidance of any doubt, ALL of the litigation instigated by Shell against Dr Huong is in respect of information published by me on my website. Yet Shell’s proceedings are solely against him.
If Shell’s lawyers were to contact us directly, then Dr Huong could not end up being blamed for any subsequent alleged misuse of information, with the prospect of him being jailed.
Shell’s litigation against Dr Huong has been dragging on for almost two years now. This is despite the fact that Shell and its lawyers have been aware since July 2004 that the facts set out in the originating proceedings were flawed and that my son and I, not Dr Huong, were responsible for the alleged defamatory website postings. He has never published a single word on my websites.
This means that the threats and charges against Dr Huong contained in the deluge of further court proceedings issued by Shell, all arise from a case based on the fundamentally inaccurate information originally given to the court.
I would be most grateful if you could advise me whether Human Rights Watch would be interested in this matter?
I have written to you as the London Director of Human Rights Watch because I am a UK citizen, as is my son.
Email Reply Received Thursday 27 April
Dear Mr. Donovan,
I am sorry to inform you that Human Rights Watch cannot be of service to you since we do not take on individual cases. We recommend that you present your case to The Citizen's Advice Bureau (www.adviceguide.org.uk). We wish you the best of luck.
Human Rights Watch