HC Deb 01 March 1912 vol 34 cc1789-90W

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been called to the treatment of political prisoners in Portugal; whether he is aware that some 200 of these prisoners have been kept in custody for terms varying from four to ten months without trial, in violation of the terms of the constitution; that some of the prisoners are youths of 15 and 16 years of age; that some of the aged prisoners, on their way to the dungeons in which they are interned, had their beards plucked and their spectacles broken, and were afforded no protection against such treatment; that the bedclothes in the dungeons are filthy and verminous, where any bedclothes are provided; that the food supplied to the prisoners is of the worst possible description; that no facilities are afforded the prisoners for air or exercise; that some of the prisoners were arrested on the evidence of single deponents who were notorious perjurers; and whether, in view of the fact that a rigid Press censorship in the hands of the Portuguese Government prevents any public news hostile to the Government or favourable to the prisoners from becoming known outside Portugal, he will make representations to the Portuguese Government as to the feelings of resentment and indignation with which these acts of tyranny and oppression are viewed by all liberty-loving people in this country, and as to the advisability of a relaxation of the treatment of these political prisoners?


I have no information to show that the allegations contained in the hon. Member's question are accurate, but I must point out that in any case the matter is one which concerns the internal affairs of another Power and in which His Majesty's Government cannot intervene.