Larry Bowoto's left arm is still scarred and numb where a soldier's bullet struck it in 1998 while he was aboard a Chevron oil platform in Nigeria. During the course of the incident, Bowoto was shot several more times, another man was wounded and yet another was killed.
On Monday, in only the second trial of its kind, a federal jury will convene in San Francisco to decide whether Bowoto and his companions were violent hostage takers or innocent victims - and whether a U.S. corporation, whose foreign subsidiary summoned the security forces, is responsible for the bloodshed.
"I'm not a violent person," Bowoto, 44, said through an interpreter during a recent Bay Area visit. "We were peaceful protesters" who "never expected Chevron to be so brutal." [More »]
Drilling and Killing: Landmark Trial Against Chevron Begins Over Its Role in the Niger Delta
A Conflict that began 10 years ago on a Nigerian oil platform continues in a San Francisco courtroom. It happened about nine miles off the Nigerian coast. Now chevron is being sued in federal court over how it resolved a hostage situation between its workers and local Nigerians who boarded that platform.
Was Chevron just doing what it had to protect its workers in Nigeria? Or did it sanction a military crackdown the likes of which would never be tolerated in the United States? That is the question being put before a San Francisco jury.
On Monday, Larry Bowoto is the plaintiff in Bowoto versus Chevron, a federal lawsuit charging Chevron with human rights abuses for shootings in Nigeria.
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