On the 10th of November 1995, Ken Saro Wiwa was hanged at Port Harcourt in Nigeria. He committed no crime–he was hanged for his ideas. He was appalled by the poverty of his people, the Ogoni tribe, whose land was exploited for oil by the Shell Petroleum Company. One hundred billion US dollars went to line the pockets of Western nations.

He brought this issue to worldwide attention through his writings and protests in the streets. But a military dictator controlled Nigeria, and dictatorships have never been known for honesty in government. A military tribunal found Ken Saro Wiwa, together with eight other protesters “guilty of killing four Ogoni chiefs.”

What would have saved Ken Saro Wiwa?

On This Day: 10 November 1995
Biography: Ken Saro Wiwa
Greenpeace: Ken Saro Wiwa
Ken Saro Wiwa’s Final Statement to the Military Tribunal