HC Deb 22 July 1946 vol 425 cc1684-5
74. Mr. Gordon-Walker

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware of the recent sentencing of Monsieur Pastuhov, a member of the Bulgarian Social Democratic Party, to five years' imprisonment on a political charge; and, since this is not in accord with the terms of the Armistice Agreement that is still in force in Bulgaria, what steps he is taking in the matter.

Mr. Noel-Baker

M. Pastuhov was tried under the Bulgarian law for the Defence of the People's Power for alleged offences against the Bulgarian State. This is a matter of the internal administration of Bulgarian justice in which, under the terms of the Armistice Agreement, the Allied Control Commission is not empowered to intervene. His Majesty's Government have taken note of the punishment imposed on M. Pastuhov, who has for many years been a loyal and courageous member of the Bulgarian Social Democratic Party, who has given his whole life to trying to secure the liberation of his country from previous tyrannical regimes, and who opposed the Germans during their occupation of Bulgaria. His Majesty's Government deeply regret that the Bulgarian authorities should have thought it right to bring a man with such a record before a special court on a political charge, and that this court should have sentenced him to prison, although, during the trial, no substantial evidence was brought against him to support the charges which had been made.

Mr. Mack

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the terms of the Armistice Agreement do not deny the rights of a properly constituted Bulgarian Court to send one of its nationals to prison on a political charge if found guilty, and that if he instituted impartial inquiries into the judicial system in Bulgaria he would discover that it is as fair as it is in this country?