Thursday, June 6, 2013

Britain to pay for colonial-era torture, denies liability - 6/6/2013 - Reuters: International

(Reuters) - Britain expressed regret on Thursday for the abuse of Kenyans by colonial forces during the 1950s Mau Mau insurgency and announced compensation for 5,228 survivors, but stopped short of apologizing.
The deal, settled out of court after three elderly Kenyan torture victims won the right in October to sue the British government, could encourage people in other former colonies to press claims over grievances dating back to the days of Empire.
"The British government recognizes that Kenyans were subject to torture and other forms of ill treatment at the hands of the colonial administration," Foreign Secretary William Hague told parliament.
"The British government sincerely regrets that these abuses took place."
The 5,228 claimants are due to receive 13.9 million pounds ($21.4 million), about 2,600 pounds each, or about 340,000 Kenyan shillings in a country where average annual income is some 70,000 shillings.
Lawyers representing the veterans will separately receive six million pounds in fees for years of work on the case.
London will also pay for a new memorial in Nairobi to the victims of torture and ill-treatment during the colonial era.

A British diplomat said Hague stopped short of offering a formal apology because that could be interpreted as the government accepting responsibility, which would have had legal implications.

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