Posted on Nov 28, 2017
Loved ones of the former British soldiers currently in prison in Chennai, India, have been campaigning for their release since they were arrested in October 2013.
The six were first jailed on weapons charges while working as security guards on ships to combat piracy in the Indian Ocean.
The former British soldiers are:
– Billy Irving, 37, from Argyll and Bute
– Nick Dunn, 31, from Northumberland
– John Armstrong, 30, from Wigton, Cumbria
– Nicholas Simpson, 47, from Catterick, North Yorkshire
– Ray Tindall, 42, from Chester
– Paul Towers, 54, from Pocklington, East Yorkshire.
In a Facebook post, the families said they were “understandably delighted” at the news and that “justice has prevailed”.
“The Government, from the Prime Minister down, has worked hard for over four years to support the men and their families and we share their happiness at the court’s decision to give a full acquittal to each of the men.
“We are now working with the Indian authorities to discuss the next steps. We will continue to offer the men and their families consular assistance for as long as it is needed.”
Their latest appeal concluded on November 20 in a hearing which saw the captain of the vessel, Dudnyk Valentyn of Ukraine, repatriated.
They will now wait to see when they will be allowed to travel home, as if this decision is appealed, they may not be allowed back to the UK.
The crew were working for the American company, AdvanFord, an anti-piracy security company protecting commercial ships off the coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean, when the MV Seaman Guard Ohio was detained and weapons found on board.
The company insists that the ship was in fact in international waters, and was carrying weapons for security purposes.
The charges were quashed in July 2014, but the crew’s passports were detained by the Indian government, meaning they were unable to leave the country.