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Britain to make Mau Mau apology

The UK government is expected to apologise to those tortured during the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya in the 1950s, the BBC understands.

BBC Online

Compensation for the victims is also expected to be announced.
Law firm Leigh Day is representing more than 5 000 Kenyans who say they were tortured or otherwise mistreated by the British administration in the 1950s.

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

Victims have been fighting a legal battle against the British government for a number of years to get compensation.

The government had initially argued that all liabilities for the torture by colonial authorities were 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 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 UK 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 High 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.

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