login
  • SUBSCRIBER
  • User Name
  • Password
  • Remember Me
ad
16 Dec 2017, 23:44 HRS IST
|
We will make Congress a grand old and young party, says Rahul GandhiPrime Minister Narendra Modi taking India back to medieval time, says Rahul GandhiI want Congress to become an instrument of dialogue with people of India, says Rahul GandhiToday BJP is trying to ignite fire and spread hatred. We are trying to douse it, says Rahul Gandhi after taking charge as Congress presidentRahul Gandhi asks party men to stand up to the BJP, saying anger and hatred cannot defeat his partyRahul Gandhi takes charge as Congress president with party's central poll authority handing him over certificate of election to the top post
  • PTI
add
add
  • Relatives lobby British MPs over ex-soldiers in Indian jail

  • Advertisement
  •  Share
  • Print Print
  •  E-mail
  • Comments Comment
  • [ - ] Text [ + ]
19:39 HRS IST

By Aditi Khanna

London, Oct 12 (PTI)
The friends and relatives of six former British soldiers lodged in a Tamil Nadu jail today lobbied MPs in the UK Parliament before handing over a 405,000-strong petition to 10 Downing Street to help secure their release.

The ex-soldiers were arrested on October 2013 and sentenced for carrying arms on a commercial ship.

They were held while working for an anti-piracy security company protecting commercial ships off the coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean and have pleaded their innocence ever since.

"It's now four years since our loved ones were wrongly incarcerated in India. These last four years have been sheer hell for everyone concerned, particularly for the men who were imprisoned while carrying out a vital, legitimate job in anti-piracy," said Joanne Thomlinson, whose brother John Armstrong is among the six former soldiers.

"We hope that today we can raise the profile of this miscarriage of justice even further, so that we can get the government to take a more robust stance against this injustice," she said.

Indian coastguards boarded their vessel, the MV Seaman Guard Ohio, and arrested them along with 29 other crew members for taking weapons into India's territorial waters.

The charges were initially quashed when the men argued the weapons were lawfully held for anti-piracy purposes and their paperwork, issued by the UK government, was in order.

But a lower court reinstated the prosecution and they were convicted in January last year and sentenced to five years in jail.

Since then there have been a series of appeals, including British Prime Minister Theresa May raising the matter with Narendra Modi during her visit to India in November 2016 as well as Britain's High Commissioner in India, Dominic Asquith, visiting the men in jail in Chennai.

The former soldiers who remain behind bars include John Armstrong, Nick Dunn, Billy Irving, Ray Tindall, Paul Towers, and Nicholas Simpson.

The sailors were aboard the American-owned Seaman Guard Ohio, which reportedly offered armed protection to vessels sailing through an area known as "pirates' alley" between the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea.

Customs officials and police found 35 guns, including semi-automatic weapons, and almost 6,000 rounds of ammunition on board the ship, which allegedly did not have permission to be in Indian waters.

  • Post your comments