HC Deb 07 May 1908 vol 188 c421
MR. J. M. ROBERTSON (Northumberland, Tyneside)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, whether there is reason to suppose that Osman Digna has developed a form of religious mania during his imprisonment at Damietta; whether a milder form of exile in a congenial climate would satisfy the needs of public security; whether his imprisonment is regarded as a punitive measure; and, if so, by what right he is punished without trial or sentence.


I have no information to the effect that Osman Digna is suffering from religious mania. As to the reasons for Osman Digna's retention at Damietta, I beg to refer the hon. Member to the letter which I caused to be addressed to him on 15th April in connection with a previous Parliamentary Question on this subject, in which it was stated that his return to the Soudan was undesirable from a political point of view as it might cause uneasiness among those who once suffered under his rule, and produce unrest among his former followers, but that the question might be reconsidered when sufficient time had elapsed to enable the authorities to judge of the effects of the repatriation of the other prisoners. Osman Digna remains at Damietta in the interests of public security. It must be remembered that an Emir who was released and allowed to return to the Soudan last year was murdered almost immediately.