British men from anti-piracy vessel freed on bail, says lawyer

MV Seaman Guard Ohio The MV Seaman Guard Ohio was detained in October

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Five British men who were being held on arms charges have been freed on bail from an Indian jail, according to a lawyer close to the case.

They were on board an anti-piracy vessel, the Seaman Guard Ohio, which was detained in October, 2013.

They face charges including straying into Indian waters and carrying weapons without permission.

Another British man, Paul Towers from Yorkshire, remains in jail along with the ship's Ukrainian captain.

News of the men's release was confirmed by an international maritime lawyer who is close to the case. He said: "Yes, they are out. Checking in to hotel and looking forward to a beer."

The five men freed on bail were: Billy Irving, 33, of Oban in Argyll, John Armstrong, of Wigton, in Cumbria, Nick Dunn, 28, of Ashington in Northumberland, Ray Tindall, 38, of Chester, and Nicholas Simpson, originally of Cottingham in East Yorkshire.

All of them must remain in India.

Their employer AdvanFort, a maritime security patrol specialist, has always insisted the men were working to provide protection to other ships from pirate attacks.

Nick Dunn's sister Lisa has commented on social media: "After 169 horrific days that Nick Dunn has spent in prison and another five being detained on the ship, I'm over the moon to say that the first hurdle is now cleared ... he's out!"

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