Ex-soldier detained in India could return home within days

A former British soldier from Pocklington, who has been jailed in India for nearly nine months, could return home within days.

Paul Towers is among six former British servicemen, including three from East Yorkshire, who have been detained in India since October after being arrested on suspicion of weapons trafficking.

The men, who formed part of the 35-man crew of a US-owned anti-pirate vessel that strayed into Indian waters, have had the weapons charges against them dropped.

Maritime welfare charity The Mission to Seafarers has been supporting the crew since their arrest through arranging prison visiting, supporting the crew’s families and holding a press conference to raise awareness of the crew’s plight.

The crew were bailed in April, under conditions that they remained in India for the duration of their hearings.

The Mission’s director of justice and public affairs, Ken Peters, said: “The Mission to Seafarers welcomes the announcement that the weapons charges against the 35-man crew of the Seaman Guard Ohio have been dropped. Since their imprisonment in October, we have worked with the arrested seafarers, their families and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to ensure that the crew received the care and support they needed through prison visiting, public awareness campaigns and family liaison work.

“Following the judgement, we hope that the crew will be reunited with their families in the next week to ten days, and we will continue to provide any support or advice necessary.”