Soap stars support Chennai Six campaign

Six members of the Emmerdale cast show their support for the jailed British sailors. Picture courtesy of @JohnBoweActor
Six members of the Emmerdale cast show their support for the jailed British sailors. Picture courtesy of @JohnBoweActor

Some familiar faces are supporting a campaign to free a group of men – including an Ashington sailor – who are ‘unjustly’ in prison overseas.

Nick Dunn was among six British sailors, dubbed the Chennai Six, making up a crew of 35 arrested by Indian authorities in October 2013 for allegedly carrying unlicensed weapons in Indian waters.

From left, Lisa Dunn, Charlie Lawson and Joanne Thomlinson, sister of John Armstrong, one of the men dubbed the Chennai Six.

From left, Lisa Dunn, Charlie Lawson and Joanne Thomlinson, sister of John Armstrong, one of the men dubbed the Chennai Six.

After a lengthy process, which included being detained for six months, they were then sentenced to five years in prison at a court hearing in January 2016.

They are still waiting for the appeal judgement.

After hearing of their plight, Emmerdale actor John Bowe (who plays Lawrence White in the soap) got in touch with the families and he and other cast members were pictured to show their support.

Mr Bowe said: “It is completely incomprehensible that six good men, ex-servicemen, should be arrested and imprisoned in error for nearly four years for carrying out their contract to protect merchant shipping from piracy in the Indian Ocean.

“These men are in physical and mental torment in bad conditions and it is the responsibility of our Prime Minister and the Foreign Office to explain the situation to our friends in power in India and to appeal to them for their immediate release and their return to their distraught families and loved ones.”

Charlie Lawson, who played Coronation Street bad boy Jim McDonald, has long been a supporter of the campaign and Simon Gregson, who plays Jim’s son Steve, has done a short supportive video that has been shared on the @TheChennai6 Twitter page.

Charlie said: “I’ve always had a hatred of injustice and a huge respect for current members of the armed forces and especially for veterans, having had close family ties with relatives that fought and died in the Second World War, and therefore the Chennai Six campaign was an irresistible combination.”