§ 2.46 p.m.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any information can be given to the House regarding the execution of the Egyptian Mahmoud Sabry who, according to Press reports, was employed by the British Forces in the Canal Zone until his arrest on 30th November last year.]
THE PARLIAMENTARY UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (THE MARQUESS OF READING)
My Lords, Mahmoud Sabry was an Egyptian employed by British Forces from September, 1939, until the time of his arrest in November, 1952. Representations were made by the General-Officer-Commanding British troops in Egypt at the time of his arrest, and an approach was made later by Her Majesty's Embassy in August, when it was brought to the attention of the Egyptian authorities that he had been in prison for nine months without any charge being brought against him. On September 23 it was announced that Sabry would be brought before the Revolutionary Tribunal, charged with treason and espionage and with torturing fellow-Egyptians while employed by a foreign Power. The case was tried in camera, and Sabry was condemned to death on October 12 and executed on October 13 without the details of the charges against him being disclosed.
§ LORD KILLEARN
My Lords, in thanking the noble Marquess for the full details which he has been good enough to give us, may I suggest to him that the execution of a man who has worked apparently for and with our forces, and who was apparently arrested in British uniform, is hardly likely to encourage other Egyptians to collaborate with the British Forces or with us?
THE MARQUESS OF READING
I would not dispute the noble Lord's contention, but he must, of course, remember that this man was an Egyptian national and, as such, subject to Egyptian procedure.
§ LORD VANSITTART
My Lords, is it not a little disquieting that this episode does not stand alone, and that there have been other cases of a similar nature? May I add that some of us have been quite revolted by the practice of distributing photographs of men on their way to the scaffold.
THE MARQUESS OF READING
My Lords, certainly with the second part of the noble Lord's question I entirely agree. I think it is a revolting practice, and I hope it will not continue. As regards the first part of the noble Lord's question, of course it is disquieting. The procedure at this tribunal is a highly summary and unsatisfactory one, to put it very mildly, and certainly not one that would be acceptable in this country.
§ LORD HANKEY
My Lords, arising out of that answer, may I ask the noble Marquess whether any representations, any protests, have been made as to the effect of such action on the current negotiations?