Sunday, October 7, 2012

UK firm wants Mau Mau fighters paid

Supporters of three Kenyans who claim to have been abused by British colonial authorities celebrate outside the High Court after the group won the right to proceed with their legal claims against the British government in London on Friday. Photo/AFP

Supporters of three Kenyans who claim to have been abused by British colonial authorities celebrate outside the High Court after the group won the right to proceed with their legal claims against the British government in London on October 7, 2012. Photo/AFP  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By MUCHEMI WACHIRA [email protected]

A UK law firm wants the British Government to settle claims over torture by former Mau Mau fighters without taking too much time in court.

Tandem Law has already recorded statements from thousands of elderly Kenyans, who claim to have suffered human rights abuses while in detention camps after the British colonial government imposed a state of emergency.

The firm had been waiting for the outcome of a case filed by three elderly Kenyans before the High Court in London through Leigh Day and Company, another UK-based law firm.

In the suit, Mrs Jane Muthoni Mara, Mr Paulo Muoka Nzili and Mr Wambugu wa Nyingi were last Friday given the go-ahead to sue the British Government over torture and sexual abuse they suffered during the Mau Mau uprising in the 1950s.

On Sunday, Tandem Law, in a statement emailed to the Nation, said: “Whilst the current hearing has concentrated on a narrow selection of claimants and limited legal arguments, Tandem Law recognises that the atrocities that were carried out during the time of the emergency parallel some of the worst atrocities on record in the 20th Century.”

The law firm’s managing director, Mr Andrew Lindsay, expressed hope that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK would settle the claims by his clients expeditiously.

“We hope they will consider the matter in the first round and compensate those people forcibly removed from their homes and detained rather than attempting to slough off their responsibilities by concentrating on the relatively limited number of survivors who were actively tortured and whose cases are the only ones thus far presented to the court,” Mr Lindsay said.

Mr Lindsay, however, praised the Friday judgment delivered by London High Court judge Richard McCombe, saying it had put to bed the argument that reparation claims filed by the three elderly Kenyans be dropped due to the time elapsed since the Mau Mau uprising.

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