HC Deb 04 March 2002 vol 381 c64W
Mr. Hancock

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many times his Department has been asked to help British nationals abroad who have(a) been imprisoned and (b) suffered serious illness in the last three years; and if he will make a statement. [38413]

Mr. Bradshaw

More than 3,000 British nationals are currently in prison overseas and looking after their welfare is one of our Consular staff's key duties. They visit prisoners at least once a year, more regularly in many cases. If necessary, we raise individual cases with local authorities to ensure that British prisoners' welfare is adequately provided for, and their human rights respected, in accordance with international standards. This includes pressing for proper medical treatment if a prisoner falls ill.

All British Embassies and High Commissions overseas keep records of when prisoners are visited and if they have suffered health problems. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not collate data centrally on the number of prisoners who suffer serious illnesses and so to provide this information would incur disproportionate costs.

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