Kenyans get UK go-ahead for Mau Mau torture case

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Four Kenyans were given the go-ahead at Britain’s High Court to sue the British government over alleged atrocities committed by the British army during the anti-colonial Mau Mau uprising.

The Foreign Office, which says it cannot be held legally liable, had asked Mr Justice McCombe to rule on the preliminary issue of whether to throw out the claims.

Foreign Office counsel Robert Jay had argued that the test case was “built on inference” and ended in a “cul-de-sac”, the Press Association reported.

But the judge refused to throw out the claim, saying: “I have not found that there was systematic torture nor, if there was, the UK government is liable, Reuters reports.
“I have simply decided that these claimants have arguable cases in law.”

Ndiku Mutwiwa Mutua, Paulo Muoka Nzili, Wambugu Wa Nyingi and Jane Muthoni Mara, who are in their 70s and 80s, flew 4,000 miles from their rural homes for the trial this spring which centred on events in detention camps between 1952 and 1961.

They were not in court for Thursday’s judgment.

At the earlier hearing, the judge was told that Mutua and Nzili had been castrated, Nyingi was beaten unconscious in an incident in which 11 men were clubbed to death, and Mara had been subjected to sexual abuse.

Britain argues that legal responsibility was transferred to the Kenyan Republic when it became independent in 1963.