Highly sensitive documents revealing the torture of Mau Mau Kenyans at the hands of the British authorities were a “sort of guilty secret” for the UK Government, a report has found.
Foreign Secretary William Hague said Monday the documents, which detail how detainees were castrated, beaten and sexually abused while in British camps, should now be made public.
His announcement comes as a High Court judge is set to decide whether the UK Government, which sanctioned “systematic violence” in the detention camps, is liable for the torture of the Mau Mau people in Kenya between 1952 and 1961.
Last month, the High Court heard how Ndiku Mutua, Paulo Nzili, Wambugu Wa Nyingi and Jane Muthoni Mara, who are in their 70s and 80s, were subjected to appalling abuse at the hands of the British authorities.
Mutua and Nzili were castrated while Nyingi was beaten unconscious during an incident in which 11 men were clubbed to death.
Mara was also subjected to horrendous sexual abuse during her detention.
All four want the British Government to issue a “statement of regret” and pay around two million pounds into a welfare fund for the hundreds of victims still alive.
The Government’s lawyers claim that it is the Kenyan government which is now responsible, while arguing that there has been such a delay since the atrocities occurred it can no longer be held accountable.
But the Kenyans’ legal team says they have only been able to bring the case now because of recent historical research and officials at the Foreign Office (FO) inally releasing some of the 1,500 files relating to the abuse of the Mau Mau people and their supporters.
The Government has also admitted there are some 8,800 files which were transferred to the UK when the British authorities withdrew from the colonies.
Following the revelation in January, Hague requested former British High Commissioner to Canada Anthony Cary conduct an internal review into what happened to the documents, known as “migrated archives”, when the British left Kenya.
Cary said he found there was confusion about the status of the files although some officials at the FO realised their importance but chose to “ignore” their existence following three Freedom of Information requests from the Kenyans’ lawyers in 2005 and 2006.