Nick marks his first year in Indian prison

Detained sailor Nick Dunn has marked one-year in prison as his Indian hell continues.

Wednesday, 11th January 2017, 8:53 am
Updated Wednesday, 11th January 2017, 9:21 am
Nick Dunn.

The 30-year-old is continuing to wait for a judge in the Indian appeal courts to make a decision on his hearing which ended in November.

As a result, Nick – detained along with five other British men on firearm offences – missed his fourth Christmas with family and friends.

He was among crewmen arrested in October 2013 when the American-owned pirate hunting ship took shelter in an Indian port from bad weather.

All 36 crewmen were arrested and charged. Nick was originally imprisoned, then released on bail but although won the appeal, Indian police appealed and a second court hearing saw all six men sentenced to five years in prison.

His family and friends back home in Ashington did not mark the first anniversary, instead are continuing to concentrate all their efforts on the appeal verdict and getting Nick out the country as soon as possible if they are successful.

Sister Lisa said: “I don’t want to dwell too much on the one year anniversary. Nick is in my thoughts every single day, every single second. I feel like we have to stay optimistic. I want to put all my energy into the appeal decision.

“Before Christmas he was extremely tired, very, very tired and he was not celebrating Christmas at all. To him, Christmas was just another day.

“We celebrated Christmas as much as we could but it is not the same with an empty seat at the dinner table. Our hearts just weren’t in it.”

Lisa has been sending parcels to Nick in prison for the last year, including his favourite sweets, but was shocked to learn the six packets she sent for Christmas were confiscated by the guards who claimed they contained drugs.

“It’s just more awkwardness and frustration,” she said.

Lisa also thanked those who had read about Nick’s plight and written to him in prison.

“He wouldn’t be able to get through each day without the support he gets from everybody. People who have read it in the News Post Leader have sent him Christmas cards and parcels, total strangers.

“He is extremely grateful.”

Now the family are facing an uncertain wait as to when the judge will give his verdict on the appeal.

Lisa said: “The lawyer in the UK who has been helping us thinks we may hear something mid to late January but it could be March or April, we just don’t know.

“Nick is still optimistic but I feel like we’re still walking on eggshells. If we lost the appeal we still have one more chance at the Supreme Court.

“If we win the appeal for the second time and the charges are dropped I’ll be making sure the Foreign Office do everything they can to get the men out the country as soon as possible.

“They failed the men in 2014 by not getting the exit visas and giving the Indian authorities the chance to appeal, forcing the men to remain in the country.

“I don’t feel we as a family have moved forward since 2013. Nick has lost so much of his life that he is never going to get back. I couldn’t bear it if he has to serve out the remaining four years.

“He could spend a total of seven years in India.”