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Originally published Friday, October 5, 2012 at 3:06 AM

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UK court rules Kenyan torture victims can sue

Britain's High Court ruled Friday that three Kenyans tortured during the Mau Mau rebellion against British colonial rule can proceed with compensation claims against the British government.

The Associated Press

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LONDON —

Britain's High Court ruled Friday that three Kenyans tortured during the Mau Mau rebellion against British colonial rule can proceed with compensation claims against the British government.

The case involves Kenyans who say they were beaten and sexually assaulted by officers acting for the British administration trying to suppress the "Mau Mau" rebellion in the 1950s. Groups of Kenyans had attacked British officials and white farmers who had settled in some of Kenya's most fertile lands.

The British government expressed disappointment with the decision, though it stressed that it did "not dispute that each of the claimants in this case suffered torture and other ill treatment at the hands of the Colonial Administration."

The government sought to have the case dismissed, arguing it could not be held legally responsible for the long-ago abuses. It argued that the liabilities of the colonial administration passed to the Kenyan government on independence in 1963.

"The normal time limit for bringing a civil action is three to six years," the Foreign Office said in a statement. "In this case, that period has been extended to over 50 years despite the fact that the key decision makers are dead and unable to give their account of what happened."

The Kenyans say the British were aware the Kenyans were being mistreated, and want compensation.

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