Four years since the arrest of the MV Seaman Guard Ohio’s crew, including six British nationals, three Ukrainians, fourteen Estonians as well as twelve Indians, relatives of the Chennai 6 are stepping up the campaign for the release of the British nationals.
“The families will be lobbying MPs on Thursday, October 12, and will also hand in a petition to 10 Downing Street demanding the Government do more to secure their release,” Human Rights at Sea organization informed.
The ship’s crew was detained on October 12, 2013 in the Indian Port of Tuticorin for possession of illegal arms and environmental pollution.
The men were working on an anti-piracy vessel to protect shipping from Somalian pirates in 2013 when they were detained by the Indian coastguard which accused them of carrying firearms without permits.
“Their paperwork – issued by the British Government – was in order yet a judge still convicted them and sentenced them in 2016 to five years in a violent, overcrowded prison,” HRAS added.
The vessel was owned by the AdvanFort Company who stopped paying the crew salaries in November 2013.
The six British guards have now been imprisoned in the notorious Chennai Puzhal prison for two years of a five-year sentence, having been deprived of their liberty for four years so far.