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British Subjects (Trial)

Oral Answers to Questions — Egypt – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd July 1957.

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Photo of Mr Paul Williams Mr Paul Williams , Sunderland South 12:00 am, 3rd July 1957

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will make a statement on the trial of a number of British subjects in Cairo.

Photo of Mr Ian Harvey Mr Ian Harvey , Harrow East

Four British subjects, who were arrested last August and September, were recently tried in Cairo on charges of alleged espionage, and four others were tried in their absence on similar charges. Of the eight, five were acquitted and three—one in absentia—were sentenced to terms of imprisonment of five and ten years. The acquitted men are now safely back in this country.

So far as the two men imprisoned in Cairo are concerned, I understand that the period during which appeals may be lodged does not expire until 10th July, and until then the case should be regarded as still being sub judice.

The Swiss authorities in Cairo have throughout done their best for these men, and succeeded in ameliorating their conditions of detention in many ways. The men and their families have for their gratitude to be expresed to the Swiss authorities; in which I am sure the House will wish to share.

Photo of Mr Paul Williams Mr Paul Williams , Sunderland South

In view of the supplementary question put by my right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Leicester, South-East (Captain Waterhouse) a few moments ago, cart my hon. Friend say what action is being taken by the British Government to ensure the safety, life and limb of the two British subjects presently in gaol in Cairo?

Photo of Mr Ian Harvey Mr Ian Harvey , Harrow East

Yes, Sir. As I stated, this matter is sub judice at the moment but we are considering what action is most likely to help the men who are now in prison.