Two British enthusiasts arrested in India have been released.
March 8: Two British enthusiasts arrested in India on February 15 for “illegally monitoring aircraft” have been released by the authorities, report several UK newspapers.
The two men, Steven Ayres, 56 and Stephen Hampton, 46 had been arrested after using a scanner, laptop, binoculars and cameras near Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport and held in custody ever since. On Friday, March 5 the two men were released but fined around £400 each for recording air traffic control conversations, which contravenes India’s Telegraph Act.
Indian prosecutors had wanted a maximum penalty of a three-year custodial sentence, reports the Daily Mail, but the two men’s lawyer, Rajiv Avasthi, managed to convince the judge they were harmless. “It took a huge amount of work to persuade the judge that these were just two ordinary men who made a mistake,” he told the Mail. “It was hard, because no one has that hobby here.”