Britain raises case of anti-piracy ship crew members held in Indian jail | world-news | Hindustan Times
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Britain raises case of anti-piracy ship crew members held in Indian jail

The Theresa May government said on Monday it had taken up the case of six Britons lodged in a jail in Tamil Nadu at the highest level with the Indian government, after reports suggested that they were “rotting” in jail for crimes they did not commit.

world Updated: Sep 19, 2016 21:50 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
A spokesman for British Prime Minister May said on Monday the government was raising the case of the “Chennai Six” at the highest level with the Indian government, but refused to say if the government thought they had been wrongly jailed.
A spokesman for British Prime Minister May said on Monday the government was raising the case of the “Chennai Six” at the highest level with the Indian government, but refused to say if the government thought they had been wrongly jailed.(AP)

The Theresa May government said on Monday it had taken up the case of six Britons lodged in a jail in Tamil Nadu at the highest level with the Indian government, after reports suggested that they were “rotting” in jail for crimes they did not commit.

The six are among 35 members of American anti-piracy vessel ‘MV Seaman Guard Ohio’ that was intercepted by the Coast Guard off Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu, on October 12, 2013. Hundreds of thousands of people have signed an online petition seeking their release.

Nick Dunn, John Armstrong, Ray Tindall, Nicholas Simpson, Paul Towers and Billy Irving were among those sentenced to five years in jail by a Tamil Nadu court in January. Their family members have accused the British government of not doing enough to secure their release.

A spokesman for Prime Minister May said on Monday the government was raising the case of the “Chennai Six” at the highest level with the Indian government, but refused to say if the government thought they had been wrongly jailed.

The spokesman said May was aware of the case and that British consular officials were “providing a full package of support”. The case has also been raised with the Indian government “at the highest level,” he added

The Sun reported on Monday remarks by Nick Dunn from what was called a “secret interview” in the jail: “We need help. Without our military training, we’d have fallen apart.” A former soldier, Dunn urged the government to stand by them “as we stood by Queen and Country when we served”.

A spokesman for the foreign office said: ‘Our staff in India and the UK remain in regular contact with all six men and are continuing to support them and their families, working to make sure their welfare is protected in prison”.

“We recognise what a difficult time this is for those involved. We cannot interfere with India’s independent legal system, just as other countries cannot interfere with ours, but we will continue efforts to make sure this case is resolved swiftly. Ministers will continue to raise this case at the highest levels.”