As the fight continues to free six British Army veterans from an Indian jail, the SBT asks why they continue to suffer unnecessarily.
One can’t help but wonder why it is so difficult for the parties concerned to see why these men should not be under sentence in an Indian prison. If they were doing illigitimate operations then fair enough but they weren’t.
So let’s look at the facts of why these men are there. Indian coastguards first boarded their vessel, the MV Seaman Guard Ohio, and arrested them for bringing weapons into India’s territorial waters in October 2013. The charges were initially quashed when the men argued the weapons were lawfully held for anti-piracy purposes and their paperwork, issued by the UK Government, was in order. But a lower court reinstated the prosecution and they were convicted in January this year and sentenced to five years in jail. The latest appeal was heard in November but no decision has been released yet by the Indian judges hearing the case. Their US employer, AdvanFort, “walked away” from the situation and have not paid salaries or helped with legal and travel fees, the families say. The six were among 35 who were arrested on the vessel. All suffer the same fate. Coastguards accused them of straying into Indian waters without permission as they headed for emergency supplies. When officials discovered 35 firearms and 5,700 rounds of ammunition on board they declared they had busted a jihadists’ gun-running operation. The men’s pleas that the weapons were lawfully held for anti-piracy purposes fell on deaf ears — even though their paperwork, issued by the UK Government, was in order. Surely, the matter should lie purely with the authorities here. The men were not at fault at all. They were carrying legal arms in a defensive role authorised by our own British government. This, then, seems to be an issue to be sorted out between the Indian government and the British government. NOT individuals who were acting in good faith. But while it takes an eternity for the powers that be to get their game in order, these guys still have to suffer cruel and extreme inhumanity for no reason. Robin Perrie, Sun reporter, recently wrote about the staff attack on one of the six which we featured last month. Nick Dunn (pictured left) was also secretly filmed desperately pleading to the British government to help them. The SBT has recently spoken to Nick’s sister, Lisa and will be supporting the lads and families throughout the ordeal, regardless of time, until they are all back home.
Our sister organisation, ‘A Song For A Hero’ has recently re-released their album to raise funds to assist support for the six and their families. In addition to this, Vince Ballard, who played ‘King’ in the stage show is due to record a rewritten version of ‘Stand Up For The Boys’ which will also be released very soon in support of the Chennai Six. If you would like to buy a copy of the album then please click on the picture below. The price is £3:00 per download and ALL proceeds go to www.chennai6.co.uk .