Plight of Cumbrian locked up in India being taken up at highest levels

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John Armstrong
John Armstrong

Foreign Office officials insist that top-level talks are continuing about the fate of a Cumbrian jailed in India.

John Armstrong, 29, of Wigton, is among six British ex-servicemen battling for freedom.

The men, all crew members on board American anti-piracy ship the Seaman Guard Ohio, were convicted in January of illegally possessing guns in Indian territorial waters.

Their families claim the are victims of a miscarriage of justice and hope an appeal will rule in their favour in the new year.

If they fail to quash their convictions, they face four more years behind bars after being jailed last January on weapons charges while working as security guards on ships to combat piracy in the Indian Ocean.

The UK Government has been lobbied to intervene and a Foreign Office spokeswoman said the matter had been raised regularly at the highest levels.

She added: “We recognise what a difficult time this is for those involved and we have taken significant action on this case.

“Foreign Office staff in India have been providing support to all six men since their arrest and are working to make sure their welfare is protected in prison. We are also in regular contact with their families in the UK.”

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