HL Deb 16 December 1999 vol 608 cc49-50WA
Baroness Pitkeathley

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the result of the review of government policy on supporting pleas for clemency by British nationals imprisoned abroad. [HL448]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal

We have reviewed our policy on making representations about the convictions and sentencing of British prisoners abroad to the authorities of the countries where they are detained.

At present we consider making such representations if, when all legal remedies have been exhausted, the British national and their lawyer have evidence of a miscarriage or denial of justice.

We are extending this to include those cases where fundamental violations of the British national's human rights had demonstrably altered the course of justice. In such cases, we would also consider supporting their request for an appeal to any official human rights body in the country concerned and subsequently giving advice on how to take their cases to relevant international human rights mechanisms.

We have decided not to change the policy on supporting clemency pleas. We will continue to base these pleas only on compassionate grounds, namely where a prisoner is terminally ill or when a close relative is terminally ill and their death will leave children or elderly relatives with no one to care for them.

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