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Torture victims yearn for reparation, decades later

One of the torture chambers at Nyayo House/JEMIMAH WANGUI

One of the torture chambers at Nyayo House/JEMIMAH WANGUI

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 19 – It’s been more than 20 years, two regimes have gone by but the pain he suffered hasn’t.

The question that lingers is whether the compensation awarded to him in 2010 will finally be paid out for the torture he underwent during the one-party State.

Stanley Kariuki narrated to Capital FM News his horrific 32 days torture after unknown men took him from his Mombasa home for charges that until today he remains unsure of.

“I was arrested in 1988 while in Mombasa and was taken to the Ports Authority Police station for 18 days where I was blind folded and tortured yet nobody told me what exactly I had done.”

“Thereafter I was taken to an airstrip where I was put in a plane and for 45 minutes we flew over the ocean with the officers threatening to throw me into the ocean if I did not confess whom I worked for and why we were working against the government.”

“Luckily, I was not thrown into the ocean but was instead transferred to Muthangari Police Station in Nairobi where I was further tortured and was later taken to Nyayo House where the horror began.”

After spending 32 days submerged in water in a soundproof cell, Kariuki was taken to the dreaded 24th floor where he was stripped and beaten as assailants demanded that he expose the rest of his group.

Unfortunately Kariuki had no satisfactory answer for his assailants and at 7pm he was taken to court blind folded where he was sentenced to five years imprisonment at the Kamiti Maximum Prison.

An emotional Kariuki takes a break to wipe tears from his eyes and composes himself to further explain the abject poverty that his family now faces as a result of the torture.

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“After my release, I faced hard times as all my documents were taken and I was criminalised. There was nobody wiling to hire someone that was accused of being a criminal.”

“My children did not get a chance to go to school because their mother could not afford to educate them and after the torture I became sick and I could not provide for my family,” a teary eyed Kariuki explained.

His search for help from the courts saw him awarded compensation one that he thought would offer a solution to the myriad of problems that they faced.

“I took my case and it was decided by the courts that I be awarded Sh3.5 million but I am yet to receive a single cent a year after the judgment was issued,” he added.

Speaking at a commemoration at the torture chambers, Kenya National Commission on Human Rights Chief Executive Officer Patricia Nyaundi demanded that the government fast track the compensation of the victims.

“A number of the victims filed their cases in the court and the challenge they are facing is that though the cases have been determined and judgments given there is a delay in giving the money and this is unacceptable in a country where we promote the respect for the rule of law.”

Nyaundi added: “We have been engaging with the Attorney General that the payments should be made immediately as the amounts were given as damages for what the victims went through.”

Chairman of the National Network of Victims and Survivors (NNVS) Wafula Buke further issued a declaration demanding that the State repeal all unlawful criminal records which forbid innocent victims and survivors from accessing employment and other services.

Buke added that they should fast track the legislation and enactment of the Prevention of Torture legislation to end all cases of unlawful detention and torture.

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