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Democratic Republic of Congo: Foreign Relations

Volume 504: debated on Thursday 28 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Government of Democratic Republic of Congo on Joshua French; and if he will make a statement. (313763)

There have been no discussions between the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on this matter.

My right hon. Friend the Minister of State, Department for International Development, raised our opposition to the death penalty with the President of the DRC during his visit to the DRC in September 2009. Our ambassador to the DRC and other British officials have also raised our concerns with the Government of the DRC regarding the death penalty. They have also raised concerns over alleged mistreatment and over aspects of the trial process.

We are opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances. Where a British national faces the death penalty, we will make representations at whatever stage and level is deemed appropriate. We understand that the DRC has imposed a moratorium on the death penalty and hope that this will remain the case.

We are cooperating with the Norwegian authorities on this case. The welfare of Joshua French remains our priority.