asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what report he has had from Cyprus regarding the suppression of the newspaper "Demokratis," and the imprisonment of the editor; and if he will make a statement.
Charges against this paper arose out of an article in it alleging that the Cyprus Government was attempting through its local officials and in collusion with a local Right Wing party, to falsify the municipal electoral rolls. The newspaper was suspended for three months and the managing director sentenced to imprisonment for the same period.
I would like to ask the Minister how he justifies this action on the part of the authorities in the suppression of this paper for three months and in the imprisonment of the editor? Will he not take steps to put a stop to this sort of thing and provide ordinary opportunities for political expression on the part of the Press?
It is not for me to comment upon the action of a court of law. This man and the newspaper have an appeal open to them if they so desire. I may point out that the managing director had four previous convictions, the last of which was for contempt of court.
Will the Minister at least give an assurance that he will give the same freedom to this paper "Demokratis" as is given to the Opposition Press in Russia?