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Mr Vasili Shipilov

Volume 131: debated on Thursday 14 April 1988

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10.6 pm

I beg to ask leave to present a petition signed by 250 members and friends of the Heath evangelical church in my constituency.

The petition refers to Vasili Shipilov, who is the subject of early-day motion 796, in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Maidstone (Miss Widdecombe).

Vasili Shipilov is an unofficially ordained orthodox priest in the Soviet Union. He was first detained at the age of 17. He is now aged 65 and has spent 47 of the past 48 years in psychiatric hospitals or prisons. He is still in detention. It is hard to believe that such ghastly treatment can go on for so long.

The petition asks the House to encourage my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary to do all possible to secure Mr. Shipilov's release from detention. I am sure that my right hon. and learned Friend will readily accept the position. I know that he is aware of Mr. Shipilov's situation and that he will continue to do all possible to press for his release from detention.

I am sure that the petition will find the support of many, if not all, right hon. and hon. Members, and I give it my full support.

To lie upon the Table.