Estonian ship guards in India denied bail
An Indian court on Monday rejected the bail application filed on behalf of the Estonian ship guards sentenced to five years in jail, and adjourned judgment again.
"The ship guards were not granted bail, but the proceedings of the appeal will continue in June," Kersti Eesmaa, director general of the Foreign Ministry's consular service, told the Baltic News Service.
According to a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the main hearing regarding the appeal of the ship guards will take place on 1 June.
"The consul visits the ship guards regularly and helps them with local proceedings. The Foreign Ministry will continue working with the ship guards' case with a goal of ship guards being allowed to return to Estonia," the spokesperson added.
Police in India's southernmost state Tamil Nadu arrested 35 crew and maritime security personnel on board the anti-piracy vessel Seaman Guard Ohio in October last year, including 14 Estonian citizens alongside Britons, Ukrainians and Indians. They were charged in December of the same year with illegal refueling, illegal handling of firearms and illegal entry into territorial waters, and released on bail in April 2014.
After being handled by various court instances, the case was returned by India's Supreme Court to the Tuticorin magistrate court, which on 11 January this year sentenced the men to five years' imprisonment. The ship guards decided at the end of January to appeal the verdict.