• The British Government has lost the first hearing in a claim regarding torture committed by soldiers and security services during the Cyprus Emergency of 1955-59.

Kevin Conroy, solicitor for the claimants is pictured with Androulla Yianni, daughter of one of the claimants and Paul Constantinou, son of a claimant.

British soldiers “horrifically tortured children” during Cyprus’ war for Independence

“We will now press to bring this matter to a full trial to ensure that justice is done”

British soldiers allegedly tortured Greek Cypriots by stubbing cigarettes out on their rectums, simulating executions and using a metal contraption that caused eyes to bleed, High Court papers have revealed.

The British Government is fighting a claim in the High Court from 34 elderly Greek Cypriots, who allege they were tortured by British soldiers and security services when they were youngsters during the Cyprus Emergency between 1955 to 1959.

The Government paid out nearly £20 million in costs and compensation to more than 5,000 victims of colonial rule in Kenya during the Mau Mau revolt in the 1950s and 1960s.

The Cypriot claimants, all in their 80s, want the Government to follow the Kenyan example and settle out of court.

One of the claimants was beaten so severely by British soldiers that he lost a kidney.

The family of another claimant, Christos Constantinou, want compensation so that now, more than sixty years later, he can enjoy a better quality of life.

In a statement, his children Paul Constantinou and Androulla Yianni said: ‘Our father was tortured by two British Army captains, who were court-marshalled and sacked for their behaviour.

6th December 1955:  British soldiers search a Greek orthodox priest, one of the passengers on a bus being checked after a local post office was damaged by fire.  (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)

‘He is no longer well enough to attend court himself, but remembers vividly the awful things that happened to him.’

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.

7th April 1956:  The net closes on EOKA terrorists in the mountainous districts of Cyprus, as a British Marine guards the road and bewildered children look on. The move follows the failure of intergovernmental talks over the future of the territory. Original Publication: Picture Post  - 8314 - Terrorist Hunt In Cyprus - pub.1956  (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Getty Images)

‘Three of the claimants have died in the process of bringing this case to the stage it is at now, while others are no longer fit to bring a claim themselves.’

He added: ‘We will now press to bring this matter to a full trial to ensure that justice is done for our clients.’

Bambos Charalambous, Labour MP for Enfield Southgate, has written to the Ministry of Defence concerning his constituent Mr Constantinou’s case.

The MP demanded the MoD take into account Mr Constantinou’s growing frailty, saying it is important to settle the case sooner rather than later.

Metro.co.uk can today reveal what the Minister for Armed Services Mark Lancaster MP said in his response.

The minister wrote: ‘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.’

The British Government has lost the first hearing in a claim regarding torture committed by soldiers and security services during the Cyprus Emergency of 1955-59. Kevin Conroy, solicitor for the claimants is pictured with Androulla Yianni, daughter of one of the claimants and Paul Constantinou, son of a claimant.

The minister said despite being aware of the claims he is unable to discuss individual cases as ‘litigation is ongoing’.

The next High Court hearing concerning the alleged victims is in October.

Alleged British torture techniques in Cyprus

The rape of one young female student

Punching, kicking, whipping and threats to cut off penises

Forcing a tin bucket on victim’s head and striking it with a hammer

Stubbing cigarettes out on exposed rectums

Waterboarding, sleep deprivation and forcing victim’s to eat salt

Screwing an ‘iron wreath’ around victim’s head causing blood to discharge the ears and eye sockets

Simulating executions and forcing one victim into a coffin

Source: Adam Smith/metro