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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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Petition to free Wigton man from Indian prison goes to Downing Street

The fight to free a Wigton man from an Indian prison will go to Downing Street next week.

John Armstrong photo
John Armstrong

Relatives of a group of former British soldiers who have been jailed in India are to deliver a 100,000-strong petition to Downing Street next week.

Supporters including families of the six men - including John Armstrong from Wigton - are planning to hand over the petition urging David Cameron to step in to help their loved ones be released.

They had originally planned to deliver it today, but were waiting for imminent news on the men’s situation.

The six have been in prison in India since October. They were working for US private maritime company AdvanFort providing anti-piracy protection when their ship was detained.

According to the men, Indian authorities claim the vessel entered its waters illegally with weapons on board, despite AdvanFort apparently insisting the ship had the correct papers.

They were granted bail in December but after objections from Indian officials, are yet to be released.

The petition, set up on online platform Change.org, calls for the men to be released and also for the UK Government to act as guarantors.

The petition will be delivered to Downing Street by relatives next week. A spokesman for the Foreign Office said: “This is a difficult and important case, which the Prime Minister has raised with Indian ministers, as has the Foreign Secretary. We will continue to do all that we can.”

Consular staff continue to provide full assistance to all those British nationals detained. They are visiting regularly.

“While we are unable to demand the release of British nationals, or interfere in another country’s legal processes, we continue to make very clear our interest in this case, and the importance of ensuring that it is resolved as quickly as possible.”

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