Fiancee of imprisoned pirate hunter fears for his life after mistreatment of fellow inmates

The fiancee of a Scots pirate hunter imprisoned in India has raised fears for his life, after a fellow inmate was attacked by medical staff and forced into a mental hospital.

Former soldier Billy Irving, 37, was jailed for five years last January along with five other British anti-piracy security guards for possession of illegal weapons.

They were arrested while aboard the MV Seaman Guard Ohio, a vessel operated by a US security firm, which had strayed into Indian waters without permission in October 2012.

Mr Irving’s partner, Yvonne MacHugh, has told of her concerns for the safety of the so-called Chennai Six after fellow inmate John Armstrong was mistreated.

He was set upon by about 15 guards and inmates, attacked by hospital staff, tied to a bed and forcibly injected with a powerful sedative.

When he woke the next day he was still tied to the bed and was attached to a drip which was medicating him with an unknown drug.

He was then forced to take powerful anti-psychotic drugs even though there was nothing wrong with him.

Miss MacHugh, 28, from Neilston, Renfrewshire, spoke of the horror of conditions in Puzhal Prison, near Chennai, having visited Mr Irving three weeks ago.

She said: “It is a huge fear that at any moment they can just say, you are psychotic just like that.

“Men shouldn’t be getting beaten up and just left tied to a bed and on a drip.

“It’s really horrific and we were all really shaken up when we heard about it, because if they can do that to one man who we all know was fine and of sound mind it can happen to them all.

“We are quite scared that it will happen again and the Foreign Office have really done nothing about it.”

A formal complaint has been made to the Indian government by the Foreign Office but Miss MacHugh said “that really is not good enough”.

She added: “They should be ensuring that these men are safe and that nothing like that happens to them ever again.

“It shouldn’t have happened in the first place and I don’t see how they could have been allowed to get away with doing such a terrible act to somebody. Their lives are at risk.”

She is concerned the men’s human rights are being violated without any positive intervention by the Foreign Office.

During her recent visit, she witnessed cells strewn with faeces and soaked with urine, and the men have to buy their own clean water to drink.

A bucket of water is provided for washing themselves and their clothes, but is not fit for drinking.

The men’s toilet is a hole in the cell floor which they have to sleep beside on the floor.

The Foreign Office said staff in India have been providing support to all six men and are working to ensure their welfare is protected.