British will apologize for atrocities committed against Mau Mau

Mau Mau rebellion

The BBC reports that the UK government will apologize and pay reparations to the Kenyans it tortured and maimed during the so-called Mau Mau uprising in Kenya in the 1950s.

Foreign Secretary William Hague is expected to announce reparations in the region of £14m ($20m) to roughly 10,000 former prisoners. Mr Hague will express "sincere regret" to the victims while announcing the compensation package in the House of Commons.

The "Mau Mau," a guerrilla group, began an uprising against British colonial authority in 1952 that was eventually put down by the British. 

The British committed a wide range of atrocities against Kenyans, including beatings, torture, castrations, sexual abuse and executions, in a long battle with Mau Mau insurgents who were demanding return of their land and an end to British colonial rule.

" In what has been described by the historian Caroline Elkins as Britain's own "Gulag", Africans resisting white settlers were roasted alive in addition to being hanged to death. Barack Obama's own grandfather had pins pushed into his fingers and his testicles squeezed between metal rods."

The Kenya Human Rights Commission says 90,000 Kenyans were executed, tortured or maimed, and 160,000 people were detained in appalling conditions.

Successive British governments have stonewalled the victims by arguing that  British colonial authorities had been transferred to the Kenyan Republic upon independence in 1963 and that it could not be held liable now.

"The British colonial government destroyed the evidence of its crimes. For a long time the Foreign and Commonwealth Office denied the existence of files pertaining to the abuse of tens of thousands of detainees."

In 2011 the High Court ruled that three claimants - Paulo Muoka Nzili, Wambuga Wa Nyingi and Jane Muthoni Mara - did have "arguable cases in law." After the ruling, the British government sought to deny the claimants justice through a request  to the High Court to consider a claim by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) that the actions had been brought outside the legal time limit.