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6 British Ex-Soldiers Held in Indian Prison - Petition for Release

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by Fanling, Nov 21, 2013.

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  1. Hello All,

    there's a petition on to secure the release of 6 British ex-soldiers, held in India since 18th October 13. They were providing commercial shipping with protection against pirates and were taken off their support vessel.

    The partner of one of the men has started this petition, as the Foreign Office of HMG is dragging its feet once more.

    The link to the petition:

    Please could you take a look?

    Many thanks
  2. Were they armed?
  3. So six British civilians then.

    Posted from the ARRSE Mobile app (iOS or Android)
    • Like Like x 4
  4. I don't know if they were armed, the petition doesn't go into too many details. I would assume that if they were, the support vessel's flag permitted weapons otherwise commecial vessels would avoid them.
  5. Thanks for signing Darthspud
  6. I signed. Now, Fanling....are you a bint?
  7. Signed
  8. News & Star | News | Campaign aims to free north Cumbrian man being held in Indian jail

    A Wigton man is one of 35 people being held in an Indian jail on charges of illegally transporting weapons and ammunition.

    John Armstrong is one of six Britons – all understood to be former British soldiers – arrested 31 days ago.

    Police in India arrested eight crew members and 25 security guards on board the American-owned MV Seaman Guard Ohio on October 12. Two crew members were allowed to remain on board the ship.

    Foreign Secretary Sujata Singh said at the time that they had failed to produce documents allowing them to carry weapons and ammunition in Indian waters.

    However AdvanFort, the security company which owns the ship, insists Indian coastguards invited them into Indian waters to shelter from a typhoon. AdvanFort provides armed escorts for merchant ships attempting to navigate the pirate-infested waters of the Indian Ocean, and Mr Armstrong is believed to work for the company as a security guard. He is originally from Wigton, and his family still live in the town.

    Family and friends have now rallied around Mr Armstrong, encouraging people to sign a petition calling on the British Government to step in and free the six Britons in time for Christmas.

    The petition – on the website – states: “These men are our brothers, sons and partners. They have risked their lives serving our country in the British Army, and now need the British Government's help to be released from an Indian Prison where they are being imprisoned unlawfully.

    “All the families involved are extremely distressed, we have had no contact with the men since they were imprisoned.

    It adds: “We want our men home for Christmas, and need your help to achieve this. Please sign the petition to put pressure on the Government.”

    Many Cumbrians have already added their voices to the call for Mr Armstrong, who they insist is innocent of any crime, to be freed.

    Edith Taylor, from Wigton, signed the petition stating: “I believe this is unlawful. I am a friend of the family: I know how worried [Mr Armstrong’s] parents are, so would every parent be in this situation. He is a lovely hard-working man and very well thought of in our community.”

    Mr Armstrong’s father, also called John, works as a painter and decorator in Wigton. He told the News & Star that the family did not want to make any comment at this stage.

    The petition has thousands of signatures but the family and friends of those in jail urge more people to add their support.
    • Like Like x 2
  9. Bouillabaisse

    Bouillabaisse LE Book Reviewer

  10. Right. Okay.

    1. So lawfully detained. The laws of the flag state do not over-ride the laws of the nation state within territorial waters. For merchant ships.

    2. Did the coastguard and police allow them in to port in the knowledge that there were un-registered (hence illegal) weapons onboard?

    3. "AdvanFort … added that all weaponry and equipment on board was properly registered." Properly registered where? India?

    4. Indian bureaucracy and the huge delays in their court system are legendary.

    Sounds like the US company has been a bit "well, this is legal in the US so that's all that's important" about it. Not having stuff registered for the nearest country is a bit silly of the company? What if somebody had been taken ill and they'd had to go to port to get them hospitalised?

    Plenty of sympathy for the blokes and their families, though.
    • Like Like x 3
  11. How the feck are the British Government supposed to "step in and free for Christmas" six individuals held (legally) in India on suspicion of gun running?
    • Like Like x 2
  12. The feel-good factor of having just simply "done something"?
    If it were an admin cock-up the one questions the personal admin of those involved for not making sure their arses were covered before venturing into something such as that.
  13. FCO 'dragging their feet' again ? When will folk begin to understand that a British passport is not a get out of jail free card? Even when backed up by a veterans' badge.
    • Like Like x 10
  14. Seriously though, although maybe technically in law they were 'bang to rights', common sense should be expected to be demonstrated from a nation that has a space agency. It's not all three-legged dogs and dead tramps there.

    Maybe there's more to the story?

    The foreign office, in my experience, do all they can when needed. 6 years ago my sister in law was involved in a coach crash in Egypt..several deaths etc. I phoned FCO via dockyard exchange and asked for "Whitehall" and thence "Foreign office" and within 15 minutes had a duty diplomat chasing things up for us and sorting things out.
    • Like Like x 2