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  1. ITV Report

WATCH: Hundreds march to free veterans imprisoned in India

Hundreds of people marched through the streets of London today, to protest against the continued detention of six British former soldiers in an Indian prison.

The group, who are known as the 'Chennai Six', were arrested on weapons charges in October 2013, while they were working as anti-piracy guards on a ship off the Indian coast.

The case against them was subsequently dropped as they had the correct weapons licenses in place, however the Indian police appealed and the men were forced to remain in India.

In July 2015 the police's appeal was successful, and the men stood trial in January 2016 - they were sentenced to five years in a prison in Chennai.

One of the men is former paratrooper John Armstrong, from Wigton. His sister, Joanne, has been campaigning for his release for years, and she joined other family members, and decorated veterans, to march through London today to raise awareness.

The protestors marched to the Indian Embassy. Credit: Mark Leishman Photography

The aim of the march was also to press for Falklands War hero Corporal Stewart McLaughlin to receive a medal, in honour of his service.

The Chennai Six launched an appeal against their jail term 199 days ago, and have still not received a verdict.

Joanne Armstrong says despite everything, the men remain in positive spirits, but are concerned by the fact that they still haven't received a decision on their appeal.

Her brother, John, is currently carrying out a hunger strike in prison, to lend his support to the protestors.

The frustration is shared by the families' lawyer, Stephen Askins.

It's beyond frustrating, not only for the families and the men themselves, but also for us and the legal team, and for our legal team in India. It's just increasingly very difficult to explain why this judgement is being posted, particularly as we understand that it has now been written.

– Stephen Askins, Tatham Macinnes

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office told ITV Border it is continuing to support the men, and their families.

We are in close contact with the men and their families, and we recognise what a difficult time this is for them as they continue to wait for a verdict on their appeal.

We have taken significant action on this case. The Prime Minister raised it with Indian Prime Minister Modi during her visit to India in November 2016, and the Foreign Secretary raised it with his Indian counterpart in January. On each occasion, they stressed the importance of seeing progress.

To underline the importance of the case, the Chancellor of the Exchequer raised it when he met the Indian Finance Minister in April. The case is also raised regularly at official level both in New Delhi and Tamil Nadu.

Our staff in India have been providing support to all six men since their arrest and will continue to do all they can to ensure the men’s welfare is protected in prison.

– Spokesman, Foreign and Commonwealth Office