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#Chennai6: We’re all in good health and eager to return home

John Armstrong says he can’t wait to see his family after his India prison nightmare ended.

The Cumbrian – one of the so-called Chennai Six – has been released after winning their appeal against a wrongful conviction for firearms crimes.

After four years of campaigning, the six former British soldiers won their court battle on Monday,

They had been guards on a ship to combat piracy in the Indian Ocean when were jailed in October 2013 after being charged with smuggling weapons and ammunition.

Speaking from their hotel room, the men released a joint statement which read: “After four long years, we, along with the 29 crew of the Seaman Guard Ohio, have been cleared by the Appeal Court.

“We want to thank the court for reaching this decision. We are all in good health and eager to return to our families and friends.

“We want to thank our legal counsel, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and The Mission to Seafarers for helping us reach this point.

“We have been glad to receive the many messages of support and care packages during our time in prison, and ask for time to reflect on our experience and to prepare for home.”

It could take several weeks before documentation comes through which will allow them to return to the UK.

Among those who have spoken of their delight at the news is actress Joanna Lumley.

She spoke of her support through Emmerdale actor John Bowe – a high-profile backer of the campaign to free the men.

He tweeted: “#Chennai6 Just to let you know that Joanna Lumley emailed me this morning to congratulate us all on never giving up.”

Mr Armstrong’s friends in Wigton have spoken of their joy at the decision.

The other men are Billy Irving, 37, from Argyll and Bute, Nick Dunn, 31 from Northumberland, Nicholas Simpson, 47, of Catterick, North Yorkshire, Ray Tindall, 42, of Chester, and Paul Towers, 54, of Pocklington, East Yorkshire.

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