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Call for Govt help unanswered

Tony Blair has turned down a newspaper request to discuss the future of a deaf charity worker, jailed on drugs charges in India.

The York Evening Press asked the PM if he would meet political reporter Adam Nichols to receive a petition signed by more than 5,000 readers.

Ian Stillman has been in prison for possession of cannabis, a charge he has always denied. And supporters feel he is being denied legal and representational rights because of his disability, being denied a sign language translator at his trial.

The petition is calling for him to receive a pardon, but in a letter from the PM’s office, editor Liz Page was told the request for a meeting would be dealt with by a foreign office minister.

But a month after the request the paper says nothing has been arranged.

The Press began its campaign after the trial last year, which sentenced Ian Stillman to ten years.

Earlier this year, plans for reporter Adam to take the petition directly to the country’s decision makers before visiting Ian in prison had to be scrapped after Foreign Secretary Jack Straw recommended against travel to the country, and told British nationals already there to leave.

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