22 September 2017

Kenya: Ex-Soldiers Detained Over 1982 Failed Coup Seek Compensation

Nine former Kenya Air Force soldiers detained over the attempted 1982 coup d'état have sued the State seeking compensation for damages.

However, the State wants the case dismissed.

The Attorney-General, through a State counsel, made an application for dismissal before Justice Stephen Radido seeking to have the case struck out on grounds that it was filed in the wrong court.

In a notice of preliminary objection, the State argued that the petition was improper since it was not filed in accordance with the law.

"The petition should be dismissed because its claim as drafted and filed contravened the Constitution. They also offend the Section 12 (1) of the Industrial Court Act," read the document.

TORTURE

The former soldiers who were detained after the attempted coup have sued the State "for subjecting them to all manner of torture during detention".

They filed the petition at the Employment and Labour Relations Court in Nakuru seeking payment for damages and compensation for the violation and contravention of their fundamental rights and freedoms.

The nine, through their lawyer, claim the State had illegally arrested and detained them at Kamiti, Naivasha and Kodiaga maximum prisons on false suspicion that they had participated in the attempted coup of 1982.

The petitioners, who are residents of Uasin Gishu County, allege that the State, during detention, subjected them to cruelty, inhumane and degrading treatment.

RIGHTS VIOLATED

"Our rights and freedoms were grossly violated by the police officers and prison wardens when they stripped us naked, placed us in solitary confinement, [beat us], denied us food and [water], bedding and toilet facility," reads the petition.

In an affidavit, Mr Benjamin Kipyegon Mutai, who claims to have been enlisted to the Kenya Air force in 1976 after undergoing six months military training, notes that he was arrested in 1982 by Kenya Army servicemen, tortured before being detained at Kamiti Maximum Security Prison and later at Naivasha Maximum GK Prison.

He says he was interrogated without being taken to the court martial at Lang'ata barracks before being released in 1983, given bus fare and asked to go home.

"During my arrest, I lost my academic certificates, money and other household items and my family suffered after they were chased from military quarters," read the affidavit.

The detainees now want compensation for illegal detention, illegal dismissal, ruining of their careers, mental torture and retirement benefits.

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