HC Deb 28 April 1966 vol 727 cc942-3
35. Mr. David Steel

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what information has been received from the Bechuanaland Police about Mr. Michael Dingake, a British citizen from Bechuanaland; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Frederick Lee

Mr. Dingake left Bechuanaland by train for Zambia on 7th December, 1965. He was arrested in Rhodesia on 8th December last and subsequently deported to South Africa. His whereabouts were unknown for some time and the British Embassy in Cape Town made inquiries of the South African Government early in February. Mr. Dingake was, I understand, taken to court in Johannesburg on the 4th April and later transferred to Pretoria for trial in the Supreme Court on 26th April.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs has received a report of the initial stages of the trial, at which Mr. Dingake was legally represented and at which a British vice-consul was present. The proceedings were adjourned—

Sir G. Nabarro

On a point of order. Is this right? On a previous occasion, Sir, you pulled me up after 51 words and promised at the same time to castigate Ministers who were verbose.

Mr. Speaker

I would advise the hon. Gentleman, if he wants to raise a point of order, to do it at the end of Question Time. I will deal with his point later.

Mr. Lee

The proceedings were adjourned and my right hon. Friend is arranging to receive reports of their resumption.

Mr. Steel

Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that this is a matter of individual liberty with which the whole House will be concerned? Is it not monstrous that this British protected citizen was deported by the illegal régime in Rhodesia to South Africa—not to his own territory—and will the right hon. Gentleman ensure that his right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary makes an adequate protest to the South African Government?

Mr. Lee

I notice that the hon. Gentleman has a Question on this subject to my right hon. Friend. We had better await his reply.