HC Deb 23 June 1954 vol 529 cc402-3
40. Mr. Foot

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many persons in Kenya have been executed for offences other than murder since the beginning of the emergency, and in the past 12 months, respectively.

Mr. Lyttelton

Up to 8th May, 179 in both cases.

Mr. Foot

Does not this show that there has been a very big increase in recent months in the number of persons sentenced to death for offences other than murder? Is not that a very serious state of affairs? Can the right hon. Gentleman give any explanation?

Mr. Lyttelton

Yes, Sir. In the whole period more than 1,000 Africans have been murdered. Those who are trafficking in arms in these circumstances are, in my opinion, just as triable on the capital charge as those who use the arms.

Mr. Stokes

While I do not wish anybody to carry or to traffic in arms, may I ask the Minister how many of these people have been executed merely for having a single round of ammunition on their person? Is that the case or not? I have been told that it is so. If it is so, will the right hon. Gentleman reconsider the whole situation, having regard to the fact that Kikuyu men themselves are saying that they are being put to death for offences no more disagreeable than those for which Italians were kept in prison during the duration of the war and were then let out?

Mr. Lyttelton

The right hon. Gentleman should put a Question on the Paper about these matters. About 39 executions have taken place for the possession of ammunition.

An Hon. Member

Absolutely disgraceful.

Mr. Bowles

This is civilisation.

Mr. Lyttelton

Civilisation is broken down by the terrorists and not by ourselves. There is no way of dealing with a reign of terror except this kind of measure. I will arrange for the right hon. Gentleman to have the information.