Saturday, 24 December 2016 07:02

THIS MUST BE THE ‘LAST CHRISTMAS IN JAIL’ FOR BILLY IRVING AND THE CHENNAI 6

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SNP MP WILL KEEP THE CASE ‘FIRMLY ON THE UK GOVERNMENT’S AGENDA’
 
SNP MP Kirsten Oswald has said that ‘this must be the last Christmas’ that her constituent Billy Irving spends in jail.


 
Billy Irving is one of the so-called Chennai 6 who have been detained in India for five years on firearms charges on the anti-piracy ship MV Seaman Guard Ohio.
 
All of the men - who are ex service personnel - have consistently protested their innocence and have presented evidence backing up their claims.
 
There have been court room holdups and glitches in the system in India which have meant frustrating delays and administrative failures and the men are certain to spend this festive season behind bars – once again separated from their families for another year.
 
Kirsten Oswald has repeatedly raised the case since she was elected, most recently with the Leader of the House of Commons, David Lidington.  She has pressed Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson for action, and has asked the prime minister to help in this case too.
 
Kirsten Oswald SNP MP for East Renfrewshire commented:
 
“This must be the last Christmas Billy and his colleagues spend in jail. Things have moved at a glacial pace in India – and it is important that the pressure is kept up on both the Foreign Office and Number 10 –  to ensure this subject is at the front of the UK government’s mind. I intend to keep the issue of the Chennai 6 firmly on the agenda.
 
“Billy and his colleagues have protested their innocence from the very start and I think the Foreign Secretary can and should be doing far more to assist them as UK citizens.
 
“I know this is going to be a difficult time for Billy’s entire family and his friends. His partner Yvonne and his family have worked tirelessly since the men were first taken in to custody. No one could have done more than they have, and I applaud each and every one of them for the dedication they have shown.
 
“What both they and I want to hear from Boris Johnson is that next Christmas – Billy and his colleagues will be reunited with their families and they can enjoy the festive period at home.’’
 
Note: For more information on Billy Irving: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-35283197