DEAF charity worker Ian Stillman's plight will be explained directly to Britain's Home Secretary tomorrow.

His family has secured its first face-to-face meeting with Jack Straw in Whitehall.

They are hoping to push forward Ian's case, which they feel has been at a standstill for weeks.

Ian was jailed in India three years ago after being convicted of cannabis possession, a charge he has always denied.

The 51-year-old father-of-two, whose parents live in Tadcaster Road, York, moved to India 30 years ago to set up a charity which has now taught independence skills to more than 1,000 deaf Indians.

A request for a Presidential Pardon has been made to the Indian Government, but the family has been waiting for weeks without hearing any news.

The family is hoping that Mr Straw can help push the case on.

"This will be the first time that we have met Jack Straw, even though we have constantly requested a meeting," said Ian's sister, Elspeth Dugdale.

"We are hoping that the meeting will be positive and prove to be a milestone in that we will be able to find a solution that breaks the current impasse."

Although this is the first meeting with the family, Mr Straw has been made aware of Ian's case and has raised it with Indian Government officials.

The Evening Press has been campaigning for the release of Ian, who is also diabetic and had a leg amputated following a road accident, after he was refused a sign language translator at his trial - effectively excluding him from taking any part. A leading human rights lawyer called it the worst miscarriage of justice he had seen.

Ian's brother-in-law, Jerry Dugdale, and sister, Ali Phelps, are flying to India next week to visit Ian and his wife, Sue, and hold meetings with the Indian Home Ministry and lawyers.

They are also hoping to visit Ian on his 52nd birthday on December 1.

Updated: 12:07 Monday, November 18, 2002