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Estonian seamen face uncertain future in India jail

  • 2014-01-08
  • From wire reports, TALLINN

Fourteen Estonian anti piracy seamen face an uncertain future in an Indian jail after a court rejected a bail decision.

The ongoing legal case comes after Indian coast guard members detained an anti-piracy ship, the Seaman Guard Ohio, carrying 35 people. 

In October 2013, 33 people, including 14 Estonian anti-piracy armed guards, were imprisoned for illegally entering Indian waters as well as several other alleged violations.

On Jan. 8,The court ruled that the guards will remain in custody until a court decision is made in the case. It's unknown if the representatives of the ship's owner company AdvanFort will appeal the court decision, an Estonian foreign ministry spokesperson told Postimees Online.

The Tuticorin magistrate court in India decided on Dec. 26 to release the seamen on bail.  Later, the court's senior judge postponed the decision. 

According to local laws, the court can detain the men without bringing charges for three months. Official charges were finally brought against the whole ship's crew on December 30; the defense team is currently studying the charges. The Estonian foreign ministry hasn’t yet seen the charges.