JUBILANT MPs today paid tribute to the family of freed charity worker Ian Stillman and "all those around the world" who campaigned for his release.

Four MPs, including York's Hugh Bayley, have tabled a House of Commons motion to celebrate his release from an Indian jail on Saturday.

The Early Day Motion (EDM) praises Ian's family for their courage during his 829 days in prison for a drugs charge he always denied.

The MPs also congratulate Foreign Secretary Jack Straw for his intervention on behalf of the 52-year-old, who is deaf and has only one leg after a road accident.

Mr Straw's intervention, which came after he received a 5,400-name Evening Press petition, is widely believed to have been the clinching factor in securing Ian's freedom.

The MPs also pay tribute to all those who worked tirelessly for his freedom. These included the Evening Press, Fair Trials Abroad and a worldwide network of supporters.

But the EDM, which is also backed by Jane Griffiths, Sandra Gidley and Fabian Hamilton, expresses regret that Ian has not received an official pardon. It also stresses Ian must be allowed to continue his charity work with the deaf in India - which is in some doubt as he is not allowed to remain in the country.

Mr Bayley said Ian should be allowed to resume his "unrivalled" charity work in India at the earliest possible opportunity.

Updated: 16:12 Tuesday, December 10, 2002