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  1. ITV Report

Foreign secretary under pressure to free Chennai six

Chennai Six include Paul Towers from Bootle and Ray Tindall from Chester Photo: PA

Ray Tindall from Chester has spent nearly four years in a jail in India and now Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says the UK will "leave no stone unturned" to bring him and five other men home. Mr Johnson is facing fresh pressure over the issue.

Ray Tindall has been held for nearly four years Credit: ITV

Former Foreign Office minister Sir Hugo Swire said it is time the ex-soldiers, referred to as the "Chennai Six", were brought back. He suggested the Foreign Secretary meets the chief minister in the state where they are being held to find a solution.

Chester Labour MP Christian Matheson also appealed for help, telling Mr Johnson to "do a deal" and ensure he can have a pint with his consitituent Ray Tindall before the summer is out.

Chester MP wants a pint with Ray Tindall 'before the summer is out Credit: ITV

Another Foreign Office Questions and still my constituent Ray Tindall and the other men of the Chennai Six are incarcerated in India.

Will the minister pick up the phone to their opposite numbers in India, do a deal to get the men deported, so Ray and I can have a pint in Chester before the summer is out?

– Chester MP Chris Matheson
Boris Johnson: 'we will leave no stone unturned' Credit: PA

The men were working for US maritime company AdvanFort providing anti-piracy protection when their ship, MV Seaman Guard Ohio, which had a crew of 35, was detained and weapons were found.

They were arrested on illegal weapons charges, which were dropped in the following months, but an appeal followed from the Indian authorities and the men were later convicted and sentenced to five years in jail.

The Prime Minister Theresa May raised their plight with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the recent G20 summit.

I will certainly look at the possibility of talking to the chief minister of Tamil Nadu. We will leave no stone unturned. What they say to me is they cannot interfere in their own courts system, any more than we can interfere in our own courts system.

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– Boris Johnson Foreign Secretary

As well as Ray from Chester and Paul Towers who is originally from Bootle the other men involved are Billy Irving, from Connel, Argyll and Bute, Nick Dunn, from Ashington, Northumberland, John Armstrong, from Wigton, Cumbria, and Nicholas Simpson, from Catterick, North Yorkshire.