HC Deb 14 June 1956 vol 554 cc754-5
38. Mr. Fenner Brockway

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations if he is aware that a woman prisoner, Mmamyana Massase, of Seruli, Bechuanaland, was prior to trial handcuffed, tied to two lion traps, left without food for 28 hours, and confined during the night in a cement-floored hut without a blanket; that by the order of the Subordinate Native Authority the handcuffs were tightened during the hearing to make her tell the truth and that she was subsequently discharged; and if will take steps to prevent such treatment.

The Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations (Commander Allan Noble)

The woman in question is the wife of a bushman who was arrested for stock theft and escaped. It was suspected, on strong evidence, that she had aided his escape; she was detained for investigation and released next day. I am investigating the other allegations made in the hon. Member's Question.

Mr. Brockway

While thanking the hon. and gallant Gentleman for that reply, may I ask him whether it is not the case that general charges were made by Mr. Peto Sekgoma, who had been a chief adviser in the Serowe kgotla as long ago as last November, when they were denied by the hon. and gallant Gentleman's office? I then obtained many details, names of witnesses, names of places, and so on, and I have had no reply as yet to these general charges. Will the hon. and gallant Member expedite an inquiry and a reply?

Commander Noble

I do not think the case in this Question is referred to in the correspondence which the hon. Member has mentioned. I have in draft a long letter to him, which I hope to sign this evening.

Mr. Bevan

Why not answer it now?