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Volume 23: debated on Tuesday 4 May 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations have been made seeking to protect the rights and secure the early release of the three British journalists now detained in Argentina; and if he will make a statement.

We have asked the protecting power, the Swiss embassy in Buenos Aires and the British interests section, to take such consular action as is possible on behalf of the three journalists, Simon Winchester, Ian Mather and Tony Prime. In particular, we have asked the Swiss embassy to try to obtain consular access and to maintain regular contact. To facilitate this, we have also inquired whether the embassy can ask that they be transferred to a prison in Buenos Aires. We still await replies. It should be understood that the embassy faces practical difficulties since the Argentine Government have declared the area where the journalists are held a restricted security zone. I am asking my colleague the Swiss Foreign Minister, Monsieur Pierre Aubert, to look into the matter on my behalf.