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Scot jailed in India set to return home after four years

Billy Irving from Argyll is one of the Chennai Six who learned they would be freed on Monday.

Billy Irving: Jailed Scot with family.
Billy Irving: Jailed Scot with family. Yvonne MacHugh

A former Scottish soldier who has spent almost four years in an Indian prison is being released.

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

He had been working with five other Brits as a security guard on an anti-piracy ship which Indian authorities say strayed into their territorial waters.

When customs officials boarded the vessel they found 35 guns and almost 6000 rounds of ammunition.

Charges against the Brits - who are collectively known as the Chennai Six - were dropped but they were forced to remain in India while prosecutors pursued an appeal.

On Monday, the group learned they will be released from prison and they are expected to return to the UK barring any further appeals.

https://stv.tv/news/west-central/1403087-case-against-scots-soldier-jailed-in-india-is-nonsense/ | default

A statement published on the Chennai Six's Facebook page on Monday morning said: "The appeal court has today found all 35 men not guilty, we now wait to hear as and when the men will be allowed home to their families.

"This may take some time whilst the authorities decide whether they agree with the outcome or wish to appeal.

"If they wish to appeal the men might be released from prison but not allowed back to the UK. But the families are understandably delighted that finally common sense and justice has prevailed."

Speaking to BBC News on Monday, Mr Irving's partner Yvonne MacHugh said she felt "sheer relief".

"Finally all the men are going to be back with their families," she added.

"They have done no wrongdoing and finally we have proven that and we'll get them home."

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