HC Deb 21 June 1960 vol 625 cc197-9
7. Mr. H. Hynd

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many people have been detained without trial for more than one year in Kenya and Nyasaland, respectively; and what is the longest period any of the present detainees have been held.

Mr. Iain Macleod

In Kenya, 478 of those detained on 7th June had been held for more than one year, the longest period being since October, 1952, In Nyasaland, twenty of those still in detention had been held for more than one year, the longest period being since March, 1959.

Mr. Hynd

While being gratified that the number in Nyasaland is relatively small, may I ask whether the Secretary of State is feeling that this is a blot on British justice, the basic fact of which is that people should not be locked up without fair trial? Is it not a disgrace that people should have been locked up since 1952 without trial?

Mr. Macleod

The number of those in Kenya, 478, is, I suppose, something like a half of 1 per cent. of those who were in detention at the height of the emergency.

Hon. Members


Mr. Shinwell

Why put it in percentages? What has that to do with it?

Mr. Macleod

It has this to do with it. It has been necessary for all those 80,000 people to go through a long and careful process of rehabilitation, and clearly it is the more difficult as one goes lower in the categories of people still there. It is bound to be the last few hundred cases which have to be studied with special care before they are released.

Mr. G. M. Thomson

Surely now that the state of emergency is ended in Nyasaland and there is a chance of a new chapter beginning there, the Government ought not to go on detaining people without trial?

Mr. Macleod

There is a total of twenty who will be detained for a time, but in the Governor's view, which I entirely support, it is possible to end the state of emergency and to look forward to what I hope will he better and more peaceful times in Nyasaland only by keeping a certain number of these people in detention for a time.

Mr. Wise

Could my right hon. Friend try to persuade hon. Members opposite to read the Corfield Report reasonably thoroughly and possibly persuade them to do a little less harm than they have done in the past?

Mr. S. Silverman

Would the right hon. Gentleman tell the House a little more about the case which has been under continuous detention since 1952? Could he tell us what efforts at rehabilitating that particular detainee have been made and how much progress has been made in the eight years and how much more further detention is expected to be required before he is fully rehabilitated?

Mr. Macleod

I do not believe that the hon. Gentleman himself can have had recent experience of the detainees to whom this Question refers. I have very recently been in these camps. I know the devoted work which is being done to try to release as many of these people as possible, but I assure the hon. Gentleman that there are still a considerable number of people in Kenya whom, in the judgment of the Governor and in my judgment, it is not safe to let out.

Mr. Dugdale

Will the right hon. Gentleman tell us what exactly he considers is meant by rehabilitation? When is a man definitely rehabilitated?

Mr. Macleod

A man is rehabilitated when he has put behind him—in these cases we are talking about Kenya which, I assume, the right hon. Gentleman is talking about—once and for all the Mau Mau and all the elements which went with it.