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Court approves release of documents in Mau Mau trial

First official documents released relating to Mau Mau treatment

Photo of Mau Mau claimants taken outside High Court 7.4.11 by Daniel Hughes

12 April 2011

A tranche of official documents relating to the treatment of the Leigh Day clients from Kenya involved in the struggle for independence during the 1950s has now been released by the High Court.  Those documents have been reviewed by the BBC 12.4.11, the Guardian 11.4.11 and the Times.

Martyn Day's statement given on steps of High Court 7.4.11

The four Kenyans you see here today have travelled 4,000 miles from rural Kenya to give their evidence to the High Court in London.  They were subjected to unspeakable acts of torture and abuse at the hands of British officials in the 1950s and early 1960s, including castrations, sexual abuse and repeated beatings.

The treatment they endured has left them all with devastating and life long injuries.  These four people represent the wider community of hundreds of elderly Kenyans who are still alive and who were subjected to systematic violence and abuse in Colonial Kenya which was sanctioned at the very highest level in London.

It has taken years for the full facts to come to light as a result of recent exhaustive historical research by Professors at Oxford and Harvard which revealed, for the first time, the scale and the brutality of the abuse against detainees and the fact that the paper trail went all the way up to the Colonial Secretary in London.  

There is no doubt that endemic torture occurred in Kenya before independence.  All the leading academic experts on this period of history have filed detailed statements in support of the victims’ claims.  The claims are also being supported by the Kenya Human Rights Commission and the Kenyan Government.

We must be clear.  This case is not about re-opening old wounds.  It is about individuals who are alive and who have endured terrible suffering because of the policies of a previous British Government.  They are not looking to the British Government for enormous sums to compensate them for what they went through. What they primarily seek is recognition in the form of an apology that what was done to them was so wrong and a welfare fund that would enable them to see out their years with some element of dignity.  It is incumbent on this Government to treat such people with the respect they deserve.

Instead the Government claims that they are not legally responsible for British colonial atrocities and that any liability was transferred to the Kenya Republic.   To seek to pin the liability for British torture onto the Kenyan Government is an appalling stance for the Government to take and one which we hope and trust that the Judge will reject.

Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.

Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.

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