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Mau Mau veterans hope to get justice in UK

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 15 – Four Mau Mau veterans returned on Friday home after 10 days in London, in where they had presented a case in which they were seeking compensation for atrocities they had undergone during the colonial period.

The case that was filed by the four claimants in 2006 against the British government.  The UK government wants the case dismissed on the grounds of limitation and state succession.

However, the claimants\’ lawyers at Leigh Day and Company have argued that the case should go to full trial. The ruling is expected to be delivered within the next two months.

"We are optimistic that when the judge delivers his ruling, our wish to have a full trial will be met," said Muthoni Wanyeki, Executive Director of Kenya Human Rights Commission.

After the British High Court recently released documents that detail atrocities committed against Mau Mau detainees in British colonial interrogation camps, the claimants are expectant for a ruling in their favour.

Ms Wanyeki is confident this evidence has impacted the British public but is yet to see the same for the British justice system.

"There are 17,000 documents, but even from the 2,000 documents that we managed to use for this hearing, it\’s created such uproar among the British public. It has really turned the tide of public opinion. We have won in the court of public opinion," says Ms Wanyeki.

The claimants were grateful that their case had finally been heard in court, as expressed by Wambugu wa Nyingi, one of the survivors.

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"This is a matter of justice. We are representing many people here. We are hopeful and will continue with the case to the end."

The original five torture victims, Ndiku Mutua, Paulo Nzili, Wambugu wa Nyingi, Jane Muthoni Mara and the late Susan Ngondi were veterans of the Mau Mau movement, in the 1950\’s and 60\’s, which is believed to be instrumental in achieving Kenya\’s independence in 1963.

The five were consequently subjected to brutal assaults by British colonial officers, while in detention including castration, sexual abuse and repeated beatings.

According to the Kenya Human Rights Commission 90,000 Kenyans were executed, tortured or maimed during the Mau Mau uprisings, and 160,000 were detained in appalling conditions.

"This case is part of a long struggle for justice, which commenced in 2003, when the Mau Mau was finally unbanned. We hope that in the months ahead they will attain justice for the torture that they underwent during the Emergency period," says Ms Wanyeki.

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