HC Deb 30 January 2002 vol 379 cc371-2W
Jane Griffiths

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations his Department has made concerning the continued imprisonment of Ian Stillman in India; and if he will make a statement. [29473]

Mr. Bradshaw

Ian Stillman was arrested on 28 August 2000, alleged to be in possession of 20 kg and 300 g of cannabis resin. On 2 June 2001 he was sentenced to 10 years rigorous imprisonment.

Mr. Stillman appealed against this conviction at the High Court, but on 11 January this appeal was turned down. It is for Mr. Stillman's lawyers to appeal to the Supreme Court. We understand that no decision as to whether to appeal to the Supreme Court has yet been made by Mr. Stillman's lawyers.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office and British high commission in New Delhi have made many high-level representations to the Indian authorities regarding Mr. Stillman. The most recent of these was a meeting between the British high commissioner in New Delhi and the Indian Home Minister on 2 January 2002. This case has also been raised at various times by the Deputy Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary. We will continue to raise the case at appropriate opportunities if Mr. Stillman decides to appeal to the Supreme Court. We will also continue to monitor his welfare while in jail and ensure that his special needs are catered for.