Britain to compensate Mau Mau for colonial-era Kenya abuse
Britain has agreed to compensate Kenyans tortured during the Mau Mau uprising against colonial rule in the 1950s, Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Thursday.
Hague expressed "sincere regret" that the abuses had taken place and told parliament the government would pay a total of £19.9 million (23.5 million euros, $30.8 million) to 5,228 clients represented by a British law firm.
Lawyers for Britain's Foreign Office had unsuccessfully argued that legal responsibility for what happened under the colonial government had been inherited by the Kenyan government when the country was granted independence in 1963.
But the Foreign Office confirmed last month it was negotiating settlements for elderly Kenyans who accuse British imperial forces of severe mistreatment, including torture and sexual abuse.
Hague told parliament on Thursday: "The British government recognises that Kenyans were subject to torture and other forms of ill-treatment at the hands of the colonial administration.
"The British government sincerely regrets that these abuses took place and that they marred Kenya's progress towards independence. Torture and ill-treatment are abhorrent violations of human dignity that we unreservedly condemn."
Hague said Britain would also support the construction in Nairobi of a memorial to the victims of ill-treatment during the colonial era.
© 2013 AFP