Suit Claims British Soldiers Tortured Cypriot Children During Occupation

(AP Photo/Petros Karadjias, FILE)

A suit filed in the United Kingdom High Court by 34 now elderly Cypriots claims they were tortured by British soldiers from 1955-59 when England was still the island’s Colonial ruler, including stubbing cigarettes on their rectums, simulating executions and using a metal device to make their eyes bleed.

The British government is fighting the claims with the Cypriots pointing to how 5,000 victims of Colonial rule in Kenya during the Mau Mau revolt in the 1950’s and 1960’s were paid more than 20 million British pounds ($26.71 million) as a precedent, the British site The Metro reported.
The Cypriot claimants, all in their 80s, want compensation and detailed how they said they were abused, with one saying he had beaten so severely as a child he lost a kidney.

Paul Constantinou and Androulla Yianni, children of claimant, Christos Constantinou, said that, “Our father was tortured by two British Army captains, who were court-marshaled and sacked for their behavior. ‘He is no longer well enough to attend court himself, but remembers vividly the awful things that happened to him,” their statement said.

Earlier this year the British Government failed in a bid to block the compensation claims on the basis the alleged crimes should have been tried in a Cypriot court.

Kevin Conroy, solicitor for the claimants, said: ‘The claimants have been fighting for recognition of the torture and human rights abuses committed against them nearly 60 years ago.

“These are people who were juveniles at the time, but are now in their eighties. Many of them still suffer daily from the physical and psychological injuries inflicted on them at the time.

Metro.co.uk reported that the Minister for Armed Services Mark Lancaster Member of Parliament said that, ‘The Government considers torture to be an abhorrent violation of human rights and human dignity and consistently and unreservedly condemns this practice. There is an absolute prohibition on torture in international law and it cannot be justified in any circumstance whatsoever, including for example war and public emergency,” and he was unaware of the specific claims.