HC Deb 13 June 1945 vol 411 cc1625-6
5. Mr. Parker

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that three Greek Resistance leaders, Movedas, Bourdis and Archis have been sentenced to death, whilst Premier Rallis has been sentenced to life imprisonment; and whether he will make an appeal for clemency to the Greek Government.

20. Sir Robert Young

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has considered a conference resolution from the general secretary of the Amalgamated Engineering Union urging him to take steps to secure a reprieve for certain Greek prisoners condemned to death; the terms of his reply; and whether he intends that action will be taken in conformity with the request made to him.

Mr. Law

These three men were all tried and sentenced by military courts under martial law, but since the Varkiza Agreement they have been re-tried by civil courts. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Aberdare, who was then Under-Secretary of State, explained on 1st May in reply to a question that Monedas was convicted of murder by the Athens Criminal Court. Bourdis was convicted of three murders between 3rd December and 6th January. Only two witnesses were produced for the defence, neither of whom gave any evidence rebutting the charges on which Bourdis was convicted. Avcheris was suspected of being concerned in the murder of 93 hostages, but not all these charges were pressed. He was, however, convicted of a number of murders, including those of a woman and of a man over 70. In all three cases there has been ample evidence to show that the victims were not killed because they were traitors and collaborationists, and in the case of Avcheris this was admitted even by some of the witnesses for the defence. In these circumstances, His Majesty's Government would not feel justified in intervening with the Greek Government to prevent the execution of the death sentence.

Sir R. Young

Is the statement which the right hon. Gentleman has now read the answer sent to the Engineers' Conference in London, the resolution having been addressed to the Prime Minister?

Mr. Law

I am not sure whether an answer has been sent, but no doubt it will be on those lines.

Mr. Shinwell

Why are the Government so ready to accept the opinion of the Greek Government on this matter when they are so reluctant to accept the opinion of the Soviet Government on another matter?

Mr. Law

It is not a question of accepting an opinion, but of accepting facts.

Miss Ward

Is it not a fact that the man over 70 was a British subject?

Mr. Law

I am not certain of that.

Mr. Shinwell

How is it possible for the right hon. Gentleman to speak about facts? All that he has in his possession is a statement made by the Greek Government. Has he made a thorough investigation into this matter in all its aspects?

Mr. Law

Yes, Sir. We have seen the record of the trial and the evidence given.

Sir Herbert Williams

Is it not the case that there are some independent newspaper men in Greece and none in Soviet Russia?

Back to