Britain Acknowledges Torture In Kenya

The British High Court began hearing arguments Thursday in the case of four Kenyans seeking damages for torture during the Mau Mau Uprising.

The British government does not dispute the allegations made by the four plaintiffs, a woman and three men who are all in their 70s and 80s, the Daily Mail reports. Instead, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has asked the court to dismiss their claims on the grounds that all liabilities of the colonial government were transferred to the Kenyan government when the country became independent in 1964.

While the government is trying to avoid paying millions of pounds to the four plaintiffs and other survivors of the struggle in the 1950s, it plans to release 1,500 pages of documents from that era. The Independent said. David Anderson, an Oxford professor of African politics, submitted a written report to the court Thursday based on access to the files.

Anderson cited a 1955 telegram from Evelyn Baring, the British governor in Kenya, that said prisoners suspected of being Mau Mau members had been burned alive. Other documents described men being castrated and women raped.

It would now appear that each and every one of us, from the governor downwards, may be in danger of removal from public service by a commission of enquiry as a result of enquiries made by the CID,” a provincial commissioner hoping to avoid an official inquiry wrote to British Attorney General Reginald Manningham-Buller in 1956.

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