UK national appeals to Theresa May to free him from Indian jail ‘nightmare’

Billy Irving, one of the men incarcerated in an Indian jail for the past three and a half years for illegal possession of firearms, has written to the UK’s prime minister, Theresa May, asking for help.

An Indian court ruled that in October 2013 the 35-strong crew of the Seaman Guard Ohio, which belonged to US security firm AdvanFort, did not have written permission for the weapons they carried into the country’s waters while transiting the country.

In the letter Irving, a former soldier, describes the hot and unhygienic conditions of his cell where he is spending a five-year sentence for a crime he says he did not commit.

“Please put a stop to this injustice, please put an end to this nightmare, please help get us home & re-united with our families and loved ones, whom we miss so dearly,” Irving wrote.

An online petition to get the six British nationals among the incarcerated freed is about to surpass the 400,000 mark in terms of signatures. Others jailed hail from Ukraine and Estonia.

The British prime minister did raise the issue with her Indian counterpart when visiting New Delhi last November, but since then there has been no word of any sentence being commuted.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. This is so so wrong that soldiers who served this country have been so badly let down by this government..

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