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Tuesday, 31 March 2015

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Cumbrian man held in India set to come home after charges dropped

A north Cumbrian former soldier held in India for alleged weapons offences is set to come home.

John Armstrong photo
John Armstrong

Charges against John Armstrong, of Wigton and four of the five other British personnel arrested last October have been dropped, it is being reported today.

They were among 35 crew members on board the Seaman Guard Ohio who were arrested last October in connection with the alleged offences.

They spent the first six months following their arrest in a Chennai jail, but – after major campaigning by families and friends of the crew, including the Armstrongs – 33 of the men were eventually released on bail.

The crew had been granted a potential reprieve, after the Indian court agreed to a hearing to have charges against the men quashed.

The boat was an anti-piracy vessel, run by American company Advanfort, and had a number of armed security guards on board – including Mr Armstrong. Indian authorities are alleged to have boarded the boat five times prior to arresting the crew, raising concerns that a heavily-armed ship was in international waters.


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