HC Deb 14 November 1882 vol 274 cc1400-1

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether his attention has been called to the renewed statements by the Correspondents of the "Standard" and the "Daily News," that two Notables were chained together, and confined in a dark cell, and that one hundred and fifty persons are confined in a prison at Zagazig, charged with political offences, where they are most cruelly treated, and where many of them have been severely flogged; whether he will cause further inquiries to be made into the truth of these allegations; and, whether, considering all the circumstances of the recent revolt, and its suppression by British Forces, Her Majesty's Government will use its good offices with the Egyptian Government to proclaim an amnesty in regard to all political offences committed during that revolt?


Sir, it is impossible for me to enter into a discussion of every detail that any correspondent may, rightly or wrongly, give. The original statement of The Daily News Correspondent, that two members of the Chamber of Notables were chained together, stated or implied that they were so chained at Cairo; and on the 27th of October I read a Report, drawn up by Colonel Sir Charles Wilson and Colonel Stewart, showing that such was not the case. The new statement in The Daily News appears to imply that the two Notables are chained together at Zagazig. Full inquiry is being made into the condition of the prisons in the Provinces; but that as to Zagazig has not yet reached us. Returns of the number of prisoners in custody in the Provinces on charges of rebellion, massacre, pil- lage, and incendiarism, and all political or semi-political crimes have been called for and are coming in. With regard to the last paragraph of the Question, we shall continue to give such advice to the Egyptian Government as humanity and policy appear to dictate; but it is impossible to announce beforehand what that advice will be.


I wish to ask the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs a Question arising out of an answer which he made to me relative to the treatment of the Egyptian prisoners. He stated that inquiry was being made as to the allegation of the ill-treatment of prisoners in the Egyptian prisons; and I wish to ask him, Are those inquiries being made by the Egyptian or by the English authorities?


They are being made by English military officers on special duty. Colonel Stewart is one of them.