MICHELLE O’Neill MLA is calling on all ex-internees to attend a meeting that will be hosted by the ex-prisoners association Coiste na Iarchimí to discuss the case that is being taken against the British Government.
Mrs O’Neill explained, “A judgement was made by the High Court in London two weeks ago relating to the torture of three Kenyans by British colonial authorities during the Mau Mau rising in the 1950s.
“The High Court in London rejected the claims by the British Government that too much time had elapsed for there to be a fair trial. This historic judgment now means that the case will go to full trial.
“In the Judgment, the court held: ‘I have reached the conclusion…that a fair trial on this part of the case does remain possible and that the evidence on both sides remains significantly cogent for the Court to complete its task satisfactorily. The documentation is voluminous….and the governments and military commanders seem to have been meticulous record keepers. The Hanslope material has filled the gaps in the parties’ knowledge and understanding and that process is still continuing. I am not satisfied that the defendant has adequately taken into account the number of potential witnesses, presently identified or otherwise, at levels of government and the army lower than politicians, senior civil servants and generals, who might be able to supplement its case on the documents.” (paragraph 95). Padraig Ó Muirigh, a legal representative for former internees said the judgement is a historic one which could have repurcussions for legal action being brought by former republican internees.
“The British Government has admitted that these three Kenyans were brutally tortured by the British colony and yet they have been hiding behind technical legal defences for three years in order to avoid any legal responsibility,” said Mr Ó Muirigh.
“The British Government initially argued that all liabilities transferred to the Kenyan Republic upon independence in 1963. “This argument was rejected by the court in an earlier judgment in 2011. Then the British Government argued that the actions had been brought outside the legal time limit. This was always morally repugnant and the High Court in London has also rejected these arguments.
“In correspondence to our office the Crown Solicitors Office has already raised the legal defence that the actions being brought by the former republican internee are statute barred. This follows the approach taken by the British Government in the actions being taken by the Kenyan victims of torture. The CSO will have to reconsider that approach in light of this judgement.” A meeting of Coiste na Iarchimí will be held on Friday November 2 in Clonoe Community Centre at 7.30pm, to provide an update to former internees in relation to the ongoing legal action and the implications of the recent judgement of the High Court in London.
All former internees are encouraged to attend and for further information regarding this event or anything related to this contact Linda in the Coalisland Sinn Fein Office on 028 87748689 or Coiste na Iarchimí on 028 90200770.