Britain says Kenyans torture case too late

April 9, 2011 12:00 am

, LONDON, Apr 9 – The elderly Kenyans, who brought their cases of torture and abuse by the British government, to a London court have been told to give up as it is \’too late\’ to claim.

Four elderly Kenyans launched a human rights claim that could cost Britain millions of pounds.

"The UK government is not transferring responsibility to the government of Kenya for dealing with the allegations; we are simply stating that under the law, Her Majesty\’s Government cannot be held liable in this case," British Foreign Office said.

The Foreign Office rejected any responsibility for the government and said it is too late to claim.

The four Kenyans, all in their eighties, claimed they were tortured during the 1950s Mau Mau uprising and suffered "unspeakable acts of brutality, including castrations and severe sexual assaults."

They flew to Britain together with a Kenyan campaign represented by no-win, no-fee lawyers.

Their claims are backed by the Kenya government and the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC).

They also confirmed that 90,000 Kenyans were killed or tortured while 160,000 were detained.

If the four will succeed, thousands more could claim compensation from the British government.

Their lawyer Martyn Day said the 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," Day said.

"They are now seeking recognition and redress in the form of a carefully conceived welfare fund. To seek to pin the liability for British torture on to the Kenyan government is an appalling stance."

The submitted documents suggest the four Kenyans were victims of "a system of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment applied by police, Home Guards and other members of the security services with the knowledge of the Colonial Administration".

However, Robert Jay QC of the Foreign Office, said British army was not responsible for the tortures since it did not run the camps. He added that witnesses were old and could not remember the details.

Human rights lawyer Paul Muite said what British soldiers did in their then colony was "shameless and immoral."

"These were terrible atrocities committed by British soldiers, not by the government of Kenya," he said, adding that, "These people were fighting for justice, liberty and their land."


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