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Scot jailed in India for four years released from prison

Billy Irving, from Connel in Argyll, was one of 35 men jailed on weapons charges in 2013.

A Scot jailed in India for almost four years has been released from prison.

Billy Irving, from Connel in Argyll, was one of 35 men jailed on weapons charges in 2013.

He had been working with five other Britons on an anti-piracy ship boarded after allegedly straying into Indian territorial waters.

Customs officials found 35 guns aboard and although the charges were later dropped the group had to remain in India while prosecutors appealed.

The men - collectively known as the Chennai Six - learned on Monday that they would be released.

Mr Irving is now at the British High Commission in India and hopes to return home to Scotland soon.

Family: Billy Irving hopes to return to family soon.
Family: Billy Irving hopes to return to family soon. Yvonne MacHugh

However, he could face a wait of several weeks before documentation arrives allowing him to travel.

Mr Irving's partner Yvonne McHugh said: "Billy called straight away, he couldn't quite believe it had happened.

"He's just over the moon and didn't think they would be released. He took everything that was said with a pinch of salt and didn't believe it.

"We are hoping they could be home in two weeks. If it's less than that it will be a miracle."

'The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has worked tirelessly behind the scenes to reunite these men with their families.'
Foreign secretary Boris Johnson

Foreign secretary Boris Johnson said the Chennai Six's plight had been a "top priority" for him since taking office last year.

"The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has worked tirelessly behind the scenes to reunite these men with their families," he said.

"The importance the UK Government places on their case cannot be understated. The men, their families and their supporters, who have campaigned unrelentingly, must be overjoyed.

"I share their delight and I hope they can return home as soon as possible."

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