Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 6th 2013 Contents A48
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, June 6, 2013
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NAIROBI---Britain has agreed on a multi-million
dollar compensation settlement for thousands of
Kenyans tortured by colonial forces during an upris-
ing at the tail end of the British Empire, a lawyer
and expert witness said yesterday.
Negotiations began after a London court ruled in
October that three elderly Kenyans, who suffered
castration, rape and beatings while in detention during
a crackdown by British forces and their Kenyan allies
in the 1950s, could sue Britain.
The torture took place during the so-called Kenyan
"Emergency" of 1952-60, when fighters from the
Mau Mau movement attacked British targets, causing
panic among white settlers and alarming the gov-
ernment in London.
"We have agreed on an out-of-court settlement,"
Kenyan lawyer Paul Muite, an adviser to the Mau
Mau veterans seeking compensation, told Reuters.
"(The negotiations) have included everybody with
sufficient evidence of torture. And that number is
about 5,200," he said, declining to comment on the
size of the payout.
A formal announcement on the settlement is
expected as early as today.
Britain s foreign office declined to comment on
reports that the settlement would total 14 million
This would work out at about 2,600 pounds ster-
ling---or 339,560 Kenyan shillings---per claimant in
a country where average national income per capita
is around 70,000 shillings.
The Mau Mau nationalist movement originated in
the 1950s among the Kikuyu people of Kenya. Its
loyalists advocated violent resistance to British dom-
ination of the country.
The Kenya Human Rights Commission has esti-
mated 90,000 Kenyans were killed or maimed and
160,000 detained during the uprising.
London tried for three years to block the Mau Mau
veterans legal action in the courts, drawing con-
demnation from the elderly torture victims who
accused Kenya s former colonial master of using legal
technicalities to fight the case.
Caroline Elkins, a Harvard history professor who
acted as an expert witness in the case launched in
2009, said the settlement would be the first of its
kind for the former British Empire.
"(It) should be seen as a triumph," Elkins told
Reuters during a visit to Nairobi for the British
Elkins wrote the book Imperial Reckoning: The
Untold Story of Britain s Gulag in Kenya which served
as the basis for the Mau Mau case.
Britain had first said that responsibility for events
during the Mau Mau uprising passed to Kenya upon
its independence in 1963, an argument which London
The government then said the claim was brought
long after the legal time limit. But a judge in October s
ruling said there was ample documentary evidence
to make a fair trial possible. (Reuters)
deal for Kenya
veterans, from left,
Paulo Nzili, Jane
of the Mau Mau
Wa Kahengeri and
Nyingi stand in
front of 10
before delivering a
letter of protest, in
London June 24,
"We have agreed on an out-of-court
settlement," Kenyan lawyer Paul Muite, an
adviser to the Mau Mau veterans seeking
compensation, told Reuters.
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