§ Mr. David Atkinson
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations have been made on behalf of Dr. Frank Bertrand in Zimbabwe; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Eggar
When Dr. Bertrand was first imprisoned in 1981 he was a dual British-Zimbabwean national and we had no standing under the terms of the Vienna convention on consular relations to intervene formally on his behalf in the country of his second nationality. However, since Dr. Bertrand renounced Zimbabwean nationality in 1985 a consular official has visited him regularly and has raised any problems, particularly on health, with the authorities. The most recent visit was on 14 January.
The High Commission has also assisted Mrs. Bertrand in her active representations to secure her husband's release. We understand that a plea for clemency on behalf of her husband was recently delivered to the Zimbabwean authorities. The High Commission has expressed to the authorities its support for this plea and the hope that it will be treated sympathetically.