News / Africa

Mau Mau Torture Hearing Concludes in London

Roopa Gogineni
LONDON — Britain's High Court has wrapped up a hearing on whether a case involving torture in colonial-era Kenya can go to trial.  Nearly 50 years ago amidst Kenya’s struggle for independence, a group known as Mau Mau launched a guerrilla war against colonial authorities. Hundreds of thousands of Mau Mau, or those accused of being Mau Mau, were detained and tortured at the hands of the colonial administration.

At the Royal Courts of Justice building in London, veterans from Kenya’s Mau Mau uprising, an anti-colonial movement, are gearing up for what they hope will be the final chapter in a 50-year struggle. They are suing the British government for torture they suffered in colonial Kenya.  

The Foreign Office has acknowledged that abuses occurred at the hands of the Kenyan colonial authorities.  However, it claims liability was transferred to the Kenyan government upon independence in 1963.  

George Morara is the program officer at the Kenya Human Rights Commission, which is spearheading the case.  He told reporters the Foreign Office argues that too much time has passed to sustain a fair trial.  

"Most of those people who would have come before court to give evidence have died and the ones who are still alive have a poor recollection of those events," said Morara.

Though many of the victims have died, thousands of Kenyans have come forward citing unlawful detention and acts of torture.  For this hearing, four Mau Mau veterans traveled from their homes in rural Kenya to testify in London.

One of the claimants, Jane Muthoni Mara, was accused of being a Mau Mau scout.  At the age of 17 she was arrested and detained for three years.  

"We were taken to the camps where we were beaten thoroughly," said Mara.  "Soldiers stepped on my feet every day and bottles were inserted into my private parts."

At the end of the hearing, Justice Richard McCombe declared he would withhold his ruling until at least October.  He will either dismiss the case or recommend it go to full trial.  

"We are hoping that the young generation in England are realistic and will listen to us and it may even be that they apologize for what perhaps their fathers or forefathers did to the people of Kenya," said Gitu wa Kahengeri, the spokesperson for the Mau Mau War Veterans Association.

If the case goes to trial, the Mau Mau hope the British government will settle to avoid a long and expensive legal battle.

You May Like

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs