HC Deb 09 March 1936 vol 309 cc1777-8
14. Commander BOWER

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has now received a report from the British Ambassador in Rome concerning the imprisonment without trial in Tripoli of Carmelo Psaila and Robert Ghirlando; and what action is being taken by His Majesty's Government in the matter?


The information which my right hon. Friend has now received is that Mr. Ghirlando and Mr. Psaila are to be charged with political defeatism under Article 265 of the Italian Penal Code and also with vilification of the Italian nation and institutions under Article 290 and Article 291. I understand that the accused will appear before the Special Tribunal for the Defence of the State which is the appropriate court for dealing with cases of this nature. In neither case has a date for the trial yet been fixed. His Majesty's Consul has kept and will continue to keep a close watch on the proceedings which, so far, appear to be following their normal legal course. On the evidence before my right hon. Friend he sees at present no grounds on which representations to the Italian Government can properly be made. So far as he is aware, the Italian authorities have not proceeded except in accordance with their laws and regulations, which are, of course, binding upon all residents in and visitors to their territories.

Commander BOWER

Can my hon. Friend say what is the substance of the first charge against these gentlemen, observing that they are British subjects?


I must ask for notice of that question.


Can the Noble Lord say how political defeatism is defined in the Italian Criminal Code?