Saiyid Talib.

Oral Answers to Questions — Iraq. – in the House of Commons on 14th February 1922.

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Mr. MALONE:

24.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether Saiyid Talib, the greatest notable of Basra and a minister in the first cabinet in Iraq, who rendered most valuable service to the British administration in Iraq during the rebellion last year, was subsequently arrested on emerging from Government House, Bagdad, where he had gone to tea on the invitation of the wife of the High Commissioner; whether he was transported to Ceylon; whether he is still held in captivity there; and whether the Government will state the reason for their action against this gentleman?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

As to the fact of Saiyid Talib's arrest and deportation to Ceylon, and the reasons for that action, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Stafford on 10th May last. I am not aware that Saiyid Talib rendered particularly valuable services to the British authorities in Iraq. At the request of the High Commissioner he was arrested by the military authorities at the first possible opportunity, which, as it happened, was on his return from an uninvited visit paid to the Residency. He is leaving Ceylon shortly for a spa in Europe to undergo a course of medical treatment.

Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

Is it a fact that the evidence which was relied upon to justify the deportation of this notable was carried from his own dinner-table by two officers who were his invited guests?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

We have got through a whole year in Iraq without a single person being executed for a political offence, and with only this one single deportation of our former Home Secretary there.

Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

Is that an answer to my question? Was the information gathered at this gentleman's own table by his invited guests who were two British officers?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

Statements have appeared upon the subject. There is no doubt he made a very improper statement for a person in his position, and in the dangerous situation of the country it was not possible to allow him to remain there without running the risk of serious disorder.