UK court rules Kenyan torture victims can sue

Associated Press Modified: October 5, 2012 at 10:46 am •  Published: October 5, 2012
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"It spoiled my prime years. My body still doesn't feel right from all the beatings," he said. "I was unable to produce in my youthful years and even educate my children to the level where they would be self-sufficient. I now live in squalor and that's why I am asking the British what can they do for me so I can live a normal life."

George Morara, an official with the Kenya Human Rights Commission, which helped compile testimony, said the group has been receiving overtures from Britain to settle the case out of court.

Some said they never got over watching their colleagues die.

Nyingi, a laborer said he still bears marks from leg manacles and has had nightmares about beatings.

"If I could speak to the queen, I would say that Britain did many good things in Kenya, but that they also did many bad things," he said. "The settlers took our land, they killed our people and they burnt down our houses ... I do not hold her personally responsible, but I would like the wrongs which were done to me and other Kenyans to be recognized by the British government so that I can die in peace."

The case could be problematic for Britain, which fears similar claims of citizens of other former colonies who also hold grievances over the way they were treated under British rule. A lawyer for the Kenyans suggested that the British government could potentially face thousands of claims from Kenyans who suffered similar torture.

"This is an historic judgment which will reverberate around the world and will have repercussions for years to come," attorney Martyn Day said. "Following this judgment, we can but hope that our government will at last do the honorable thing and sit down and resolve these claims."

Day suggested that victims of torture in other corners of the British empire would be looking at the judgment "with great care."

Around 90,000 Kenyans were executed, tortured or maimed during the crackdown against the Mau Mau, the Kenya Human Rights Commission has said.

Among those detained was President Barack Obama's grandfather, Hussein Onyango Obama.

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Associated Press reporters Andrew Meldrum in Johannesburg, South Africa, and Tom Odula in Nairobi, Kenya contributed to this report.



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