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Protest at Indian embassy for release of ex-soldiers

John Armstrong

A protest was held at India's High Commission in London at 2pm today, Friday 16 June, to call for the release of six former British soldiers.

The men, including John Armstrong from Wigton, were jailed in India on firearm charges in 2013.

Prime Minister Theresa May agreed to bring up the case of the men during a state visit to India in late 2016.

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.

– Foreign & Commonwealth Office Spokesperson

In March 2017, John Armstrong told his family he had been beaten, attacked and injected with mystery drugs while in prison.

The men and their families have continued to maintain their innocence.

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Former soldiers denied bail in India

It's being reported that former soldiers who were sentenced to five years in an Indian prison, including John Armstrong from Wigton, have been refused bail.

John Armstrong. Credit: ITV Border

The men were reportedly told the court had rejected their application earlier today.

The court said the arguments for bail would only be heard during the main appeal hearing, scheduled for June.

From May 1-31 the courts are closed for summer vacation.

The men's families say they are devastated. They have launched a website to campaign for the men's release, which is being backed by seafarers' charities.

Case of Cumbrian man imprisoned in India raised at European Parliament

John Armstrong from Wigton was jailed for 5 years earlier this month in India. Credit: ITV News

The situation of a Cumbrian man imprisoned in India on weapons charges has been raised at the European Parliament.

John Armstrong from Wigton and five colleagues were working on anti-piracy duties when they were detained in October 2013. Earlier this month they were jailed for five years.

UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott has called on the Indian government to review the case and release the six men.

WATCH: sister of Cumbrian jailed in India speaks out

The sister of John Armstrong, who has been sentenced to five years in prison in India, says she was "shocked" by the verdict.

The families of the six British men, who were arrested in 2013 while working as anti-piracy guards, were expecting a 'not guilty' verdict, and the men to be released.

But John's sister, Joanne Thomlinson, says she'll keep on fighting to free him, and is planning an appeal. Greg Hoare went to meet her:

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