Hearings in Togo court over, no word yet on sailors’ fate

MUMBAI: A Togo court on Wednesday completed hearing the case of the third and final Indian sailor, held in that country since July for allegedly abetting piracy. At the time of going to press, it was yet to decide on their release, including merchant navy captain Sunil James.

On Wednesday, the judge clarified all related points with the three Indian prisoners and passed case papers to the prosecutor to conclude, before taking a decision on their release. Satish Sakleshpur, second secretary at the¬†Indian High Commission¬†in Accra, Ghana, told TOI, “We are totally in the dark about the case’s proceedings on Wednesday. The matter will be clear only after the lawyer gets back to us.” Till the time of going to press,¬†the High Commission¬†was waiting for word of the court’s judgment.

“Some positive development is expected. But I can’t say anything at the moment,”¬†Congress MP Sanjay Nirupam¬†told TOI. Till late on Wednesday, captain James’s brother-in-law Rakesh Madappa said he couldn’t get in touch with the defence lawyer Rustico Lawson. had informed, “I am informed by the judge that he has finished with the hearing of the last suspect in prison. The file was closed and sent to the prosecutor after extracting order to the prison at this effect. With these clarifications I think that all the three will be released. But I can’t tell with precision if the release order will be issued on Thursday or Friday.”

Madappa¬†said it was unlikely the prosecutor would finish the formalities soon though the judge completed his part on Wednesday. “It is a very real possibility that our concern may not be resolved this week as welll. But after having met¬†Prime Minister Manmohan Singh¬†on Tuesday, we hope this will not drag out any longer,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme wrote to the President of Togo on Wednesday, requesting his support to allow Captain James to return to perform the last rites of his son, Vivaan, who died on December 2. “We appeal to the¬†International Maritime Organisation, Government of Togo and the international maritime community to assist the family in this hour of need. Whatever the charges, it is of utmost importance for an individual to be with his family and perform the last rites of their son,” MPHRP regional director, South Asia, Chirag Bahri said.

Via: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/

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