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Shell’s N.Y. trial over Nigerian deaths delayed

Reuters

Tue May 26, 2009 3:25pm EDT

(Adds start of trial delayed until next week)

NEW YORK, May 26 (Reuters) – A civil trial over the alleged involvement of giant oil producer Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSa.L) in the executions of protesters in Nigeria in the 1990s has been delayed until next week, a court clerk said on Tuesday.

Jury selection in the case had been scheduled to begin on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, but a clerk in the chambers of presiding Judge Kimba Wood said there would be a conference in the case on Monday. Jury selection would begin on Tuesday at the earliest, the clerk said.

A spokesman for the Center for Constitutional Rights, representing relatives of protesters, said in a statement that the trial had been delayed.

Shell is accused of human rights abuses, including violations connected with the 1995 hangings of prominent activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other protesters by Nigeria’s then-military government.

Shell has denied allegations of involvement.

The case was brought by relatives of Saro-Wiwa and others under a 1789 U.S. statute, the Alien Tort Claims Act, allowing noncitizens to file cases in U.S. courts for human rights abuses occurring overseas.

The case is Wiwa, et al v Anderson, et al 01-01909 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan) (Reporting by Edith Honan; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Gerald E. McCormick)

 

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