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Sunday, 20 April 2014

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Former Cumbrian soldier faces Christmas in Indian jail

A Wigton man will remain in an Indian jail over Christmas, after authorities turned down requests for bail.

John Armstrong photo
John Armstrong

Former soldier John Armstrong is one of six being held captive in an Indian jail.

Mr Armstrong, who is the son of a Wigton painter and decorator of the same name, was a security guard on board the American-owned MV Seaman Guard Ohio when Indian authorities detained the entire crew in October.

Thirty-three of the 35 people on board were arrested on suspicion of illegally transporting weapons and ammunition in Indian waters.

None have yet been charged.

The high court in India has now rejected bail for all crew members, who will remain in jail over Christmas.

Under Indian law they should be charged or released within 90 days, and only two weeks of that period remain.

A statement from AdvanFort, the company which owns the ship, said: “The mystifying investigation by Indian authorities has dragged on for two months already, while AdvanFort’s seamen and maritime security contractors continue to languish in despicable and barbaric conditions at Indian prisons.

“Throughout their careers and this ordeal, these men have admirably adhered to the highest standards of professional conduct and integrity.

“AdvanFort thanks their loved ones for their patience and understanding as we now redouble our efforts in continuing to work around-the-clock, 24/7 to secure their release.”

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