§ MR. HEYWOOD JOHNSTONE (Sussex, Horsham)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether of the 63 Armenian Christians now or lately imprisoned at Angora 24 are still awaiting their trial, while 15 have been sentenced to death, and 24 to terms of imprisonment varying from 7 to 15 years, and if lie can state to the House the nature of the charges against these persons, and the evidence by which such charges have been supported; and whether at Easter of this year His Majesty the Sultan promised to release all Christian prisoners charged with political offences who were not political leaders, and if all or what number of these 63 persons are so charged as being political leaders?
§ *THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Sir E. Grey,) Northumberland, Berwick
Of the 24 prisoners referred to seven have been liberated; but we have not heard the result of the trial of the remainder. An amnesty was granted at the end of March to most of the Armenians of Marsovan, Cesarea, and Guzgat who were suspected of being implicated in the posting of the seditious placards. Those reserved for trial were considered by the Turkish Authorities to have been the authors or instigators of the placards.
§ MR. H. JOHNSTONE
Can the hon. Baronet say if it is the fact that 15 of these persons have been sentenced to death, and 24 to terms of imprisonment varying from seven to 15 years? What was the nature of the charges preferred against them, and of the evidence on which the accusations were based?
§ *SIR E. GREY
No, Sir. I think the 15 prisoners referred to by the hon. Member as having been sentenced to death were those as to whom I stated some time ago that five had been exe- 238 cuted, and others had had their sentences changed to terms of imprisonment ranging from eight to two years. In these cases the Porte has promised to supply the procès verbal to the British Embassy.