HC Deb 20 February 1985 vol 73 c477W
63. Mr. Terry Lewis

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs why British consular officials in Saudi Arabia failed to visit the British nationals who were recently flogged and imprisoned.

Mr. Luce

The Saudi Arabian authorities have told Her Majesty's embassy in Jedda that they intend to introduce a new system, including special identity documents, for visits to detainees by foreign consular staff. There has been a certain amount of confusion about exactly how the new system is to work, and for some weeks our consuls were unable to visit some British detainees. Her Majesty's ambassador and members of his staff have been in regular touch with the Saudi authorities about this unsatisfactory state of affairs, and ad hoc arrangements have been made, pending the introduction of the new system, for visits to all prisons in Saudi Arabia.

I assume the hon. Member is referring in his question to a group of four men who were not visited by our consul while in prison in Taif. A member of our consular staff was, however, able to visit them at the deportation centre in Jedda before they left the kingdom.