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Iraq (Death Sentences)

Volume 439: debated on Monday 30 June 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that Josef Salman, Ibrahim Naji Shemil, and Saki Besim have been sentenced to death in Iraq for being members of the Communist Party and having published pamphlets opposing the policy of the Government; and whether he will make representations to the Iraqi Government to have their lives spared and to restore the freedom of political activity.

I have seen Press reports to this effect. The matter appears to be one for the Iraqi courts, and His Majesty's Government have no grounds for intervention

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that information that has come through since the Question was put down indicates that these gentlemen have, in fact, been sentenced to death for writing pamphlets in support of trade unionism? Will he, therefore, get our representatives in Iraq to have an unofficial word with that country? It is controlled by our Army.

Can the hon. Gentleman explain how he reconciles that answer with the answer he gave to an earlier Question?

This is a very important matter respecting the life or death of certain people. Is the hon. Gentleman aware that these Iraqi gentlemen are going to be executed on charges for which even Hitler would not have executed members of the Communist Party? Would he not intervene as, in the case of Spain, on a number of occasions he was able to do? As we have no responsibility in Spain, surely, he can do so again in this case?

This seems to be a matter for Iraq. I cannot admit the comparison of Iraq with Spain.

Will the hon. Gentleman confirm or refute the statement of the hon. and learned Member for North Hammersmith (Mr. Pritt) that Iraq is controlled by our Army?