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Nobel laureates condemn ‘judicial harassment’ of environmental lawyer
The Guardian 18 April 2020
Twenty-nine Nobel laureates have condemned alleged “judicial harassment” by Chevron and urged the release of a US environmental lawyer who was put under house arrest for pursuing oil-spill compensation claims on behalf of indigenous tribes in the Amazon.
The open letter signed by scientists, authors, environmentalists and human rights activists said the treatment of lawyer Steven Donziger, whose movements have been restricted for more than 250 days, was one of the world’s most egregious cases of judicial harassment and defamation.
Donziger represents 30,000 indigenous people and small farmers who won a $9.5bn class action lawsuit against Chevron in Ecuadorean courts in 2013, as compensation for the contamination of their land by oil extraction activities
This judgment was one of the largest ever against an oil company, but not a cent of these damages has been paid to the plaintiffs. Chevron does not have assets in Ecuador and has successfully argued in US courts that the initial ruling was flawed. In other countries, courts have ruled that Ecuador does not have jurisdiction to claim damages.
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