For seafarers stranded in India the wait goes on as courtcase further delayed

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SIX ex-servicemen who have been trapped in India for 20 months face yet more delay after a Supreme Court case to decide whether they can go free was adjourned another fortnight.

Paul Towers, an ex-member of the Parachute Regiment from Pocklington; former Army sniper Ray Tindall, from Chester, whose mother Carole Ann Edmonds lives at Keyingham, near Hull and Nicholas Simpson, from Catterick, North Yorkshire, were among 35 crew arrested on the MV Seaman Guard Ohio in October 2013.

The charges, including entering Indian territorial waters and carrying weapons, were quashed by the High Court last July and the men freed.

But security forces, known as Q’ branch, appealed the decision to the Supreme Court.

The men can’t get their passports back without the police issuing a “no objection” certificate and have spent their second Christmas, living in hostels, without pay, while they wait for the Supreme Court to decide whether to uphold the police appeal, or back the High Court decision.

They were working for US private maritime company AdvanFort providing anti-piracy protection when their ship was detained.

The Revd Canon Ken Peters, from the The Mission to Seafarers, which is supporting the men and their families, said: “One of the parents of one of the chaps in detention has been in hospital with very failing health.

“There’s been the birth of a baby and these guys have missed out on all this.

“It is not just that the men are held in Indian jails, it is all the family ramifications, the stress, the strain and the emotion, as well as the men’s own physical wellbeing.”

Canon Peters said the families hadn’t been surprised by the latest delay, because of previous experience.

He said: “This wasn’t a group of mercenaries by any stretch of the imagination, this was properly trained, very professional people doing a worthwhile job.”