HC Deb 10 July 1957 vol 573 cc361-2
10. Major Wall

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what action he is taking to secure the release of two British subjects recently condemned to hard labour by the Egyptian Government.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

The period during which the defence or the prosecution can lodge an appeal does not expire until tonight. Until we receive confirmation that no appeal has been lodged I cannot add to what my hon. Friend said in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, South (Mr. P. Williams) on 3rd July.

Major Wall

Will my right hon. and learned Friend say whether these two men are subject to the same appalling conditions as Egyptians who are subject to hard labour?

Mr. Lloyd

There is a later Question on the Order Paper. In answer to it I will deal in some detail with that matter.

27. Mr. Biggs-Davison

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what is the latest information about the treatment and conditions of two of Her Majesty's subjects sentenced to hard labour by an Egyptian court.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

Members of the staff of the Swiss Embassy in Cairo visited Mr. Zarb and Mr. Swinburn on 3rd July at the prison at Tourah. At that time the men were still in quarantine, though their quarantine ended that day. They had been thoroughly examined by the prison medical authorities and were due to begin a category of labour in accordance with their age and medical condition. The ordinary work is in a quarry, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. six days a week.

The prison diet is reported to contain fresh bread and meat daily, and the men are allowed to spend up to £E3 a month on additional food from the canteen. They may also have tobacco sent in to them, and smoke in their cells.

They are allowed to receive a fortnightly visit from a priest. They may receive any number of incoming letters but may send out only two every six weeks.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

May I thank my right hon. and learned Friend for that information? As hard labour in Egypt is a very terrible thing, might I ask if from time to time he will report to the House about the conditions of these men so that we may be kept informed?

Mr. Lloyd

Certainly, Sir. We have asked the Swiss authorities who represent us in Egypt to do everything they can to improve the lot of these men. I should like to add that the Swiss representatives have been untiring in their efforts to find the facts and to help.

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