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Chennai Six to be released from prison in India

John Armstrong from Wigton Credit: ITV Border

The so-called Chennai Six are to be released from prison after being acquitted, a judge has ruled.

Families of the British men have been campaigning for their release since they were arrested in India in October 2013.

The six were first jailed on weapons charges while working as security guards on ships to combat piracy in the Indian Ocean.

One of the six men is John Armstrong, 30, of Wigton, Cumbria.

The others are; Nick Dunn, 31, of Northumberland, Nicholas Simpson, 47, of Catterick, Paul Towers, 54, of Pocklington near York, Ray Tindall, 42, of Chester, and Billy Irving, 37, of Argyll.

MP for Penrith and The Border, Rory Stewart, showed his support on twitter after the announcement:

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Cumbrian ex-soldier awaits Indian jail fate

A man from Wigton in jail in India is hoping to find out today when he'll hear if his appeal has been successful.

John Armstrong and five other British men were working for an anti-piracy ship when they were arrested in 2013. The so-called Chennai Six were charged with weapons offences, but say they had the correct paperwork issued by the British government.

The group are serving a five year prison term, but lodged an appeal in November 2016. This is their story so far:

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Sister of jailed ex-soldier 'optimistic' over new appeal: WATCH VIDEO

The sister of a former soldier being held in an Indian prison says she's optimistic a new appeal could set him free.

Joanne Tomlinson from Wigton is fighting to get her brother John Armstrong released after he was detained along with five other Britons.

The so-called Chennai Six had been working as security guards on board a ship when they were arrested by the Indian authorities.

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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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