Local ex-soldier receives support

Published: Wednesday 11th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Two maritime campaign groups have come out in support of an East Yorkshire man and five more former soldiers being detained in India on weapons charges.

Paul Towers from Pocklington was on board the US ship the MV Seaman Guard Ohio doing anti-piracy patrols when he was arrested in October 2013.

He has now been in India for more than 500 days after being charged with illegal possession of weapons and ammunition. The initial charges were dropped in July last year, but the crew’s passports were confiscated while the prosecution consider an appeal.

Now Human Rights at Sea (HRAS) and The Mission to Seafarers (MtS) have come out in support of Mr Towers and his colleagues. The father of one of the men being held in India said the cost of support him in India was running into thousands of pounds.

HRAS founder David Hammond said he is “concerned” at the way some aspects of the case have been handled. He urges the Indian authorities to come to a conclusion quickly and think about international Human Rights conventions.

The Indian authorities say the ship was illegally sailing in Indian waters off the coast of Tamil Nadu, but AdvanFort, the company which owns the ship, claims both the coastguard and the police gave permission for the ship to enter so it could take shelter from a cyclone.

The other men who were arrested are Nick Dunn from Ashington, Northumberland, John Armstrong of Wigton, Cumbria, Ray Tindall from Chester, Billy Irving from Connel, Argyll and Nicholas Simpson from Catterick, North Yorkshire.

Copyright Press Association 2015

Published: Wednesday 11th March 2015 by The News Editor

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