City MP Chris Matheson plans to run a public event at Chester’s Town Hall Square in support of a constituent imprisoned in an Indian jail for five years.
Mr Matheson had been working on the case of Ray Tindall even before he was elected to parliament last May because he knows him and regards him as ‘a friend’.
Ex-Army sniper Mr Tindall, 40, from The Crescent, Newton, who has a young daughter back in Chester, was aboard an anti-piracy vessel in October 2013 when it allegedly strayed into Indian waters.
In January this year, he and five other Brits were found guilty of weapons and smuggling offences along with the rest of the crew. But the men have always protested their innocence.
Mr Matheson, from Hoole, is convinced there has been a miscarriage of justice involving Ray, who was at one time known for running a Chester business called Faraly’s Fine Produce.
He said: “What I want to do is hold some kind of event for Ray in Town Hall Square and I’m thinking of getting the Royal British Legion involved so we can support him financially. He went out there to earn money in order to build up his business. He lost more money than he was ever going to earn.
“I’m looking at how we can help him, perhaps by getting people from Chester to write to him and tell him ‘we have not forgotten about you’.”
Mr Matheson, who has raised his constituent’s plight in parliament, has held several meetings with foreign office minister Hugo Swire and says the Foreign Office are doing their ‘best’. But times are tough for Ray and it was no longer even possible to communicate with him via email.
A legal appeal was being lodged but the courts were about to go into recess and the Indian judicial system was ‘very slow’ any way.
The MP added: “It’s been nearly three years since Ray got stuck there and we are looking at all the options including prisoner transfer (back to the UK).
“But Ray would still have to serve the full sentence under prisoner transfer including any parole period. I don’t want that because Ray is innocent and even that could take a couple of years to arrange so we are working on the basis of a legal appeal for Ray and the five other lads.”