UK to Apologize, Compensate Mau Mau Torture Victims

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Three Kenyans celebrate
Three Kenyans celebrate

The  government  of the United Kingdom will apologize and pay compensation to the victims of torture during the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya in the 1950s, according to the BBC. 

Foreign Secretary William Hague is expected to announce compensation in the region of $20 million.

More than 5,000 Kenyans say they were mistreated – some through torture – by the then-British administration.

The British fought a bitter battle with Mau Mau insurgents who were demanding land and an end to colonial rule.

Victims have been fighting for compensation from the U.K. government for a number of years.

The BBC reports Hague will express “sincere regret” to the victims while announcing the compensation package in the Commons.

The government had initially argued that all liabilities for the torture by colonial authorities had been transferred to the Kenyan Republic upon independence in 1963,  and that it could not be held liable now.

But in 2011, the High Court ruled that three claimants – Paulo Muoka Nzili, Wambuga Wa Nyingi and Jane Muthoni Mara – did have “arguable cases in law”.

Their lawyers allege Nzili was castrated, Nyingi was severely beaten and Mara was subjected to appalling sexual abuse in detention camps during the rebellion.

After the ruling, the case went back to the High Court to consider a claim by the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) that the actions had been brought outside the legal time limit.

The FCO said it had faced “irredeemable difficulties” in relation to the availability of witnesses and documents.

But in October last year, the court ruled the victims had established a proper case and allowed their claims to proceed to trial despite the time elapsed.

At the time, the lawyer for the three claimants said they would be pressing for a trial “as quickly as possible,” but they would also be pushing for the government to reach an out-of-court settlement.

The Mau Mau, a guerrilla group, began a violent campaign against white settlers in 1952. The uprising was eventually put down by the British colonial government.

The Kenya Human Rights Commission says 90,000 Kenyans were executed, tortured or maimed, and 160,000 people were detained in appalling conditions by the British.

Source: BBC

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