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UK Foreign Secretary to raise Seaman Guard Ohio crew's plight during India visit

UK Foreign Secretary to raise Seaman Guard Ohio crew's plight during India visit
The UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond is due to raise the plight of the crew of the Seaman Guard Ohio when he visits India this week.

The crew have been held in India now for 17 months, despite an Indian court quashing all of the charges against them in July 2014.

When the question, "What steps is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office taking to secure the return of UK citizens detained by Indian maritime authorities?" was raised in the UK House of Commons on 3 March, Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire reponded, "We have regularly raised this case at the most senior levels of government and have pressed for the legal process to be resolved as soon as possible. My right honorable friend the Foreign Secretary will be raising this yet again when he visits India next week."

Swire added that in February emergency travel documents were issued for three of the crew upon their request, as they have no access to their passports, but the men still require permission from Indian Authorities before they are able to leave the country.

Ian Lavery, MP for Wansbeck implored, "these six British soldiers all fought for the British Army on the front. They feel utterly betrayed by the government because of what they see as a lack of assistance in their hour of need. They were all acquitted on the tenth of July last year, we must be able to do something to get these people home, we must redouble our efforts."

Swire responded that the issue had been raised by the UK Prime Minister to the Indian Prime Minister in November, and listed other instances where senior government officials raised the situation, including the Deputy Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and UK officials in India itself.

"What we cannot do is simply ignore the Indian judicial process or interfere in it," Swire stated. "That is not to say that we do not share [The MP's] frustrations at the pace of progress."

TAGS: Europe India