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Minister visits jailed Cumbrian man


The Foreign Office has said it is doing “all it can” for six British seaman jailed in India.Mark Field, the UK’s minister for Asia, visited the men on Wednesday at Puzhal prison in Chenai.The six men were arrested in October 2013 on illegal weapons charges. They were convicted and jailed for five years in 2016.The men have continued to protest their innocence and Mr Field said he updated them on the progress of their appeal.”These men have been separated from their families for four years and have had an incredibly difficult experience,” he said.”I wanted to meet with them personally to give them my assurance that we are still doing everything we can to help them.”It is not for us to tell India’s independent justice system what to do, we cannot and should not, but we can make clear the importance we place on this case.”The British men – all former soldiers – are:Nick Dunn, from Ashington, Northumberland

Billy Irving, from Connel, Argyll
Ray Tindall, from Chester
Paul Towers, from Pocklington, East Riding of Yorkshire
John Armstrong, from Wigton, Cumbria
Nicholas Simpson, from Catterick, North Yorkshire
The men all worked for the US maritime company AdvanFort providing anti-piracy protection when their ship, MV Seaman Guard Ohio, was detained and weapons found.The men have denied any wrongdoing, saying the weapons were properly licensed.The charges against them and 29 other crew members were initially dropped but they were all convicted after a successful appeal by the Indian authorities.The issue has been raised by both the prime minister and the foreign secretary with the Indian government in recent months.
Source: BBC Cumbria