HL Deb 25 January 1886 vol 302 cc274-6

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether he had received any answer with regard to certain proceedings alleged to have taken place at Mandalay under the orders of the Provost Marshal?


My Lords, I am able to inform the noble Marquess on all the points raised the other day except the first, which has reference to the question of the photographing of the men who were about to be executed. The reply received under that head is from the Chief Commissioner at Rangoon, and is as follows:— Rangoon, Jan. 23.—First point—namely, photographing prisoners at moment of execution. I am telegraphing to Mandalay for fuller information. On the point as to a certain prisoner having been asked questions under fear of death, the reply from Mr. Bernard is— It is true that Provost Marshal did place a man suspected of treasonable correspondence in fear of instant death in order to induce him to give information which might have criminated two members of Burmese Durbar. On hearing of this, I pointed out to Provost Marshal that evidence extorted was valueless, and that it was contrary to all laws to extort evidence by moral torture, and I requested that similar proceedings might not recur. I believe Provost Marshal had done nothing of the kind on any previous occasion, and will not do anything of the kind again. Then follows a telegram from the Viceroy— It is also clear that Provost Marshal has proceeded in most unjustifiable manner, at all events in one ease. I have telegraphed to Prendergast direct, that if primâ facie case is made out against Provost Marshal on one of the counts mentioned, he and any other officers implicated should be suspended from their functions, and, if proved guilty, visited with the severest penalty. A telegram from the Viceroy, dated January 24, says— We have English Civil officers and Police officers in command in each of the five districts —Mandalay, Minhla, Ningyan, Pagan, and Myingyan. These officers are supported by troops, and they are working through local Woons and Thagyis. Lest of country is nominally dominated by Hlootdaw or Burmese Supreme Council. At several points, Bhamo, Tagaing, Hwebo, Ava, Upper Chindwin, Lower Chindwin, Myodaung, we have military detachments stationed, with Civil officers in attendance. At present country is still under military occupation. Though rebels taken in arms on the field day are liable to be shot, no one is to be shot or punished by Civil officers otherwise than after trial. Then, in districts nominally under Hlootdaw, sentences of death cannot be carried out by Native officials or otherwise than on responsibility of, and after trial by, Civil officer who may be nearest the ground. Prisoners punished under martial law by Provost Marshal or by commanding officers do not come under Civil officers' cognizance, while country is under military occupation. My hope is that within few weeks' time I may be in position to post Civil officers backed by troops in remaining districts of country. The map that the noble Karl (the Earl of Kimberley) alluded to will be placed in the Library; it is not a recent one, as it is dated 1875.


said, that the real point he had in view, in inquiring about the map the other day, was to ascertain the precise territory which had been annexed to Her Majesty's Dominions.

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