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British Nationals Abroad: Prisoners

Volume 507: debated on Monday 8 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate his Department has made of the number of British citizens imprisoned in overseas jurisdictions; and what support and assistance his Department provides to such people. (318152)

On 30 September 2009 we were aware of 2,582 British nationals detained overseas. This figure is calculated every six months. In April we will have the figure for 31 March 2010. The support we can offer is set out in the publication "Support for British Nationals Abroad: A Guide". This includes making contact with the detainee, visiting if they want us to, making contact with their family, again if they want us to, offering basic information about the local legal and prison systems and a list of local interpreters and lawyers. If appropriate, we will consider approaching the local authorities if a detainee is not treated in line with internationally-accepted standards, including if they are mistreated. Within certain limits, we can forward funds to the detainee. We can also help them contact non-governmental organisations who offer support, such as Prisoners Abroad and, where appropriate, Fair Trials International or Reprieve.