19 JULY 1957, Page 7

A Spectator's Notebook

THE GOVERNMENT'S elaborate appli- cation of whitewash on the Cyprus torture allegations might have been more convincing had it not coin- cided with the report of an inquest • • on a Greek Cypriot prisoner.

According to a Turkish police sergeant, the prisoner had to be shot to prevent him escaping. Yet it was admitted that he was shot at ten yards range; and that no attempt was made to pursue him, or to fire warning shots over his head. A British police officer testified that he had ordered 'one of the men' to shoot, when he reported that the prisoner was trying to escape. Yet 22 bullets were found in the prisoner's body. The phrase 'shot when trying to escape' has long had an ugly Connotation; in this case, there seems to have been barely even the pretence that it was true.