Dr. Dennis Osborne (Detention)

Oral Answers to Questions — Ghana – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 30th January 1964.

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Photo of Mr Arthur Bottomley Mr Arthur Bottomley , Middlesbrough East 12:00 am, 30th January 1964

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations if he will make a statement about the detention of Dr. Dennis Osborne, who is a United Kingdom citizen, by the Ghana Government.

Photo of Mr John Tilney Mr John Tilney , Liverpool Wavertree

Dr. Osborne was arrested on 17th January and was released on 24th January subject to certain restrictions. The reason given for his detention was that the Ghana Security Service wished to question him in connection with alleged subversive activities.

Despite repeated requests by the Acting High Commissioner no representative of the British High Commission in Accra was allowed to see Dr. Osborne during this period. This is contrary to widely accepted international practice and especially to Commonwealth practice as we understand it. We should never deny the Ghana High Commissioner access to a Ghanaian citizen arrested in this country. My right hon. Friend is pursuing this point further with the Ghana Government.

Photo of Mr Arthur Bottomley Mr Arthur Bottomley , Middlesbrough East

As one who appreciates some of the difficulties under which the President has to work, may I join with the Minister in condemning this action? May I ask the Minister whether immediate steps were taken, or was some time allowed to elapse before our Acting High Commissioner made representations?

Photo of Mr John Tilney Mr John Tilney , Liverpool Wavertree

I would rather not go into great detail about this. I think that this is an incident which is liable to damage Anglo-Ghanaian relations. It is unfortunate, and in many ways the less said about it at the moment, the better. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."]

Photo of Mr Arthur Bottomley Mr Arthur Bottomley , Middlesbrough East

With due respect, this is a United Kingdom citizen who is still detained. I think that representations should be made asking for his immediate release.

Photo of Mr John Tilney Mr John Tilney , Liverpool Wavertree

Representations were made as soon as possible.