HC Deb 26 May 1952 vol 501 cc936-7
18. Sir D. Savory

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that four British subjects were arrested at Buenos Aires on 15th May and are now in the Devoto Prison in that city; and whether he will protest against the arrest and imprisonment of these British subjects without any charge having been brought against them.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

Yes, Sir. Four British subjects, Messrs. Bowen, Howe, Knox and Nordaby, were arrested on 15th May and accused of contravening the Argentine Anti-Trust Laws. Her Majesty's Ambassador intervened and on 23rd May all except Knox were freed. The Ambassador is continuing his efforts to secure the release of Knox and certain other British subjects who are also involved.

Sir D. Savory

Will my right hon. and learned Friend not insist that Her Majesty's Ambassador demands compensation for these gentlemen who have been thrown into prison without any charge being made against them and simply in order that they might act as witnesses? In what civilised country are witnesses kept in prison until they give evidence?

Mr. Lloyd

The Argentine procedure provides for taking accused persons into custody for a reasonable period for questioning. After questioning, they must be either formally indicted or immediately released. Persons detained in that way may not be granted bail until after questioning. They may be released on bail as soon as they have been formally charged.