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Victim of Nyayo torture to receive Sh2 million from state

Saturday, January 21, 2012 - 00:00 -- BY CAROLE MAINA

A JUDGE yesterday ordered the government to pay Sh 2 million to a survivor of the infamous Nyayo House Torture Chambers in Nairobi for the suffering he underwent in the hands of state agents. In a judgment, Justice Mumbi Ngugi, said the acts of the notorious Special Branch officers were illegal and inhuman.

Justice Mumbi said Njoroge Wanguthi proved beyond reasonable doubts that he was tortured by state agents and was subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment by police officers in 1986 when he was arrested for allegedly distributing Mwakenya publications. Njoroge who then worked at Kabete Vet Lab, was arrested in Nyeri on June 12, 1986 over allegations that he belonged to the Mwakenya movement.

He was held at the torture chamber until May 26 the same year when he was charged and later jailed for six years. He moved to court seeking compensation for the degrading treatment he received while in the hands of state agents. During the hearing, he told court how he was ruthlessly beaten by 14 officers who were led by special branch senior officer James Opiyo so as to confess.

He told court that as a result of the beatings, he developed spinal complications and that he has been on medication to date. He also said because of his condition, he missed a chance to go back to work at the civil service. Yesterday, Justice Ngugi dismissed the state defence that the current government should not be held accountable for acts committed by the Kanu regime.

The state had also asked the judge to reject the case and refer Njoroge to the truth and reconciliation commission. The judge ruled that there was no dispute Ngugi suffered physical and psychological injuries as a result of the torturous acts subjected upon him. However said Njoroge did not prove his medical condition was as a result of the torture, and she could not speculate Njoroge would have resumed work after jail

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