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Saturday, 9 November, 2002, 08:19 GMT
Mau Mau rebels threaten court action
Kenyan demonstrators
Fifty years on, and Kenyan anger is boiling over

Kenyans who fought in the Mau Mau rebellion against colonial rule in the 1950s say they are preparing to take the British Government to court for alleged human rights abuses.

More than 13,000 Africans were killed in the fighting - including Mau Mau guerrillas, troops and civilians - and about 100 Europeans.

Now a welfare group with more than half-a-million members, the Mau Mau Trust, claims many veterans were tortured and illegally detained by the British.

It is hoping to win compensation.

Slave labour

The Mau Mau Trust claims that many of its fighters were regularly beaten and tortured by British forces throughout their fight for independence.

Some were alleged to have been battered with rifle butts, stabbed with broken bottles and forced to do slave labour.

This treatment is said to have left many mentally scarred and unable to walk again.

Last year, the Mau Mau Trust tried to take legal action in Kenya, but failed to win the Kenyan Government's backing.

Now, they have hired English lawyer Martin Day, who recently won compensation for British prisoners of war detained by the Japanese, as well as for some Jews who were forced to work for the Nazis.

Mr Day predicts that victory in the British courts could win many thousands of Mau Mau veterans six-figure sums in compensation.

Should they fail, the trust's chairman is threatening to campaign for a boycott of all British products in Kenya.

[You can find out more about the British campaign against Mau Mau in a special report by BBC2's Correspondent programme to be shown at 1915GMT on 17 November]

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Andrew Harding reports from Kenya
"They've not forgotten what they say the British did to them"
See also:

22 Mar 01 | Africa
04 May 01 | Africa
18 Jul 02 | UK
29 Oct 02 | Country profiles
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