Tortured Kenyans’ court victory

This video is called Kenyan Mau Mau want Britain to admit torture, other abuses.

By Paddy McGuffin in Britain:

Historic court win for empire torture victims

Friday 05 October 2012

Three Kenyans tortured by British officials won the right to sue the government for damages in an historic High Court ruling today.

The trio suffered horrendous abuse – including castration and sexual assault – between 1952 and 1961 during the brutal oppression of the Mau Mau rebellion.

The case stems from the release of thousands of colonial-era papers known as the Hanslope Archive, which the government had previously claimed was lost.

The documents shed light on many cases of abuse.

Lawyers for the government tried to strike out the claims brought by Wambugu Wa Nyingi, Jane Muthoni Mara and Paulo Muoka Nzili, claiming that they had waited too long.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said it faced “irredeemable difficulties” on the availability of witnesses and documents and a fair trial was no longer possible.

But the court threw out the government’s argument today and said that the case could proceed.

Mr Justice McCombe, presiding, ruled: “A fair trial on this part of the case does remain possible and that the evidence on both sides remains significantly cogent for the court to complete its task satisfactorily.”

This is the second time in two years that the British government has lost in its efforts to use legal technicalities to have the case thrown out.

Last year it argued that the Kenyan government was legally responsible for any abuses committed by the British colony. The court rejected those arguments.

During the latest hearing in the High Court, in July, the government’s lawyer conceded the Kenyan trio had been tortured by British officials.

This was the first time the British government has accepted that the colonial regime in Kenya was responsible for torture of Kenyans prior to independence.

The landmark judgement could now open the door for thousands of other compensation claims from victims of torture during the British colonial era.

Leigh Day & Co senior partner Martin Day was triumphant.

“This is an historic judgment which will reverberate around the world and will have repercussions for years to come.

“The British government has admitted that these three Kenyans were brutally tortured by the British colony and yet they have been hiding behind technical legal defences for three years in order to avoid any legal responsibility.

“This was always morally repugnant and today the judge has also rejected these arguments.

“Following this judgment we can but hope that our government will at last do the honourable thing and sit down and resolve these claims.

“There will undoubtedly be victims of colonial torture from Malaya to the Yemen from Cyprus to Palestine who will be reading this judgment with great care.”

The FCO said it was disappointed in the ruling and would seek to appeal the decision.

See also here. And here.

9 thoughts on “Tortured Kenyans’ court victory

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