British Nationals Abroad: Detainees

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 12th September 2013.

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Photo of Stephen Doughty Stephen Doughty Labour, Cardiff South and Penarth

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what range of diplomatic responses and sanctions are available to the Government in its relationships with another state when a UK citizen is being detained illegally by that state.

Photo of Mark Simmonds Mark Simmonds The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

The British Government would take very seriously any case of a British national being detained illegally. We would seek advice on whether the detention was in fact unlawful.. If it became apparent that a British national was being detained illegally, we would consider how best to make representations to the authorities of the country holding the British national.

Actions would include in the first instance a Note Verbal or letter from the embassy, high commission or consulate. If further consultations were required we could, where appropriate, make representation at ambassadorial, ministerial or prime ministerial level. This might take the form of a letter or phone call to their counterpart, and/or the case might be raised in person in a meeting.

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