Petition to free soldiers handed in to Number 10

Families and friends of six British ex-soldiers jailed in India, including Paul Towers who lives in Pocklington, have delivered a petition to Number 10 Downing Street.
Families and friends of six British ex-soldiers jailed in India, including Paul Towers who lives in Pocklington, have delivered a petition to Number 10 Downing Street.

Families and friends of six British ex-soldiers jailed in India, including Paul Towers who lives in Pocklington, have delivered a petition to Number 10 Downing Street.

The families lobbied a number of MPs on Thursday (12 October), marking four years since they were first arrested, before handing in a petition with 405,000 signatures demanding the Government do more to secure their release.

Foreign minister Boris Johnson, speaking in the Commons, vowed to leave no stone unturned in his attempt to bring the men home.

He said: “I will certainly look at the possibility of talking to the chief minister of Tamil Nadu.

“Whether we will be any more successful with her in making our points, I will ascertain, but we will leave no stone unturned.”

The six Brits have been held for 1,461 days in India and are currently in a prison in Chennai.

They were first jailed on weapons charges while working on ships to combat piracy in the Indian Ocean.

Indian coastguards had boarded their vessel, the MV Seaman Guard Ohio, and arrested them for taking weapons into India’s territorial waters in 2013.

The charges were initially quashed but a lower court reinstated the prosecution and they were convicted in January last year and sentenced to five years jail.

Since then there has been a series of appeals as the families navigate the Indian legal system.