HC Deb 06 April 1939 vol 345 cc2985-6
65. Colonel Wedgwood

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will inquire how many Jews are at present held in detention in Palestine under the prevention of crime ordinance, or in connection with political offences for which they have not yet been tried; how many of the total are Communists; how many Revisionists; and how many of no political denomination?

Mr. M. MacDonald

The number of Jews detained in Palestine under the Defence Regulations on 4th April was 54. I have no knowledge of any detentions under the Crime (Prevention) Ordinance. I am asking the High Com-missioner to report on this point and on the political affiliation of those detained.

66. Colonel Wedgwood

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make inquiries as to the sentences passed on 17 illegal refugee immigrants into Palestine, about a month ago; whether he is aware that the judge expressed his regret at having to sentence them to three months imprisonment and deportation; whether the law allows any lighter sentence; will they actually be deported, and, if so, to what country; also, how many were men, and how many women?

Mr. MacDonald

The High Commissioner for Palestine has informed me that 17 illegal Jewish immigrants who were arrested on 5th February were sentenced on 22nd March to three months' imprisonment and were recommended for deportation. No minimum penalty is prescribed for illegal entry. On completion of their sentence, these persons will be deported, if possible, to their countries of origin, but I understand that it is the practice to defer execution of the deportation order for a reasonable period when a deportee is making efforts to find another country of asylum. I have no official information regarding the other parts of the question, but I am asking the High Commissioner for a further report.

Colonel Wedgwood

What is the use of postponing sentence to allow these people to find another country of asylum?

Mr. MacDonald

A great many people in many parts of the world are trying to find asylum for these refugees, and we are all trying to help.

Colonel Wedgwood

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell me any country in the world which will take them?

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