Second appeal to help free sailors

Ann Towers, Yvonne MacHugh, Nicks sister Lisa Dunn, Ray Tindalls mother Carole Edmunds, Joanne Tomlinson and Jessica Kemp.
Ann Towers, Yvonne MacHugh, Nicks sister Lisa Dunn, Ray Tindalls mother Carole Edmunds, Joanne Tomlinson and Jessica Kemp.

The family of an Ashington pirate hunter who was given a five-year jail sentence for weapons offences in India have been left waiting to see if a second appeal in the High Court is successful.

An initial bail hearing for Nick Dunn and the other five British sailors currently being detained in India was heard on Tuesday.

And after more than 90 minutes deliberating, the case was adjourned until February 24 for further arguments.

The families of the sailors arrested in October 2013 on board the Seaman Guard Ohio are being supported by the Mission to Seafarers as they look to submit appeals against the five-year jail terms.

Nick’s sister Lisa Dunn said: “Our family feel a sense of comfort knowing that the initial appeal procedure is now underway.

“This is very frustrating in that we still have to continue to fight to prove the men’s innocence for a second time yet extremely daunting given the unbelievable guilty sentence passed to them.

“Our family are not prepared to accept this verdict and we will continue to do all we can to ensure justice prevails.”

Lisa will be visiting the jail in Chennai, India, where Nick is imprisoned from February 28 on his 30th birthday.

Ann Towers, wife of fellow sailor Paul Towers, from Pocklington, East Yorkshire, added: “Despite the shock subsiding after the verdict, our hearts remain broken at the decision to imprison the men.

“This is utter madness that men who have led lives of integrity and service should end up behind the bars of a prison.

“Without the unwavering support and loyalty of our family, friends and colleagues, we would not have survived this traumatic time in our lives, and we remain humbled at the generosity and kindness of all these people and those we don’t know who have signed the petition, or donated to help in our plight.

“We pray for the appeal to be expedited as quickly as possible and that justice will prevail, so that our beloved men are allowed to come home.”

The families have relaunched a petition which will be handed to David Cameron calling on help for the men and which has now been signed by 346,000 people.

Anyone who wants to sign it can do so at www.change.org/p/british-foreign-secretary-free-the-6-british-ex-soldiers-from-indian-jail

They have also set up a national awareness campaign #FreeSGO6 and hope to raise funds to support the crewmen via The Mission to Seafarers’ JustGiving website www.justgiving.com/freesgo6/