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Tortured political prisoners in Kenya get compensation

world Updated: Jul 23, 2010 16:59 IST

Kenyan judges have awarded 21 former political prisoners almost $ 500,000 between them in compensation for torture they suffered in the 1980s.

They were among hundreds of people who were illegally detained and tortured during the government of President Daniel Arap Moi, who retired in 2002.

Their lawyers, who first brought the case in 1988, said the constitutional court had made a landmark ruling.

The victims had described spending days in waterlogged torture chambers.

For almost as long as Moi ruled Kenya, Nyayo House in Nairobi became an unutterable synonym for torture, terror and detention.

The upper floors of the building housed the department of immigration, but beneath them in the basement worked the special branch of internal security - Moi's secret police.

So it is only now - eight years after Moi retired -that the case has finally concluded.

During the hearings, victims told of being left in waterlogged torture chambers without food or water, and being hung from the ceiling while police beat them.

Judge Hannah Okengu said it had been a violation of their rights to liberty and freedom from torture.