Ansip, Paet Take Softly-Softly Approach on India's Detention of Security Personnel (1)

Andrus Ansip (Postimees/Scanpix)
1/17/2014 11:55 AM
Category: International

While Estonia's MEPs minced no words in a call for speedy justice for 14 "pirate hunters" imprisoned in India for allegedly straying into national waters on a ship carrying arms, top Estonian officials on Thursday maintained India's sovereign right to deliberate the matter at its own pace.

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said after a meeting on the issue as well as other matters with British counterpart William Hague in London that Estonia could support the crew members of the Seaman Guard Ohio through communication with authorities and keeping the topic in focus.

"This is a process taking place in the courts of another country, and what we can do in cooperation with Britain right now is to keep the topic in focus and provide consular aid to the detained men," said Paet.

Prime Minister Andrus Ansip said at the Cabinet press conference on Thursday that Estonia had no reason to doubt India's justice system.

"The Indian judicial system works at its own tempo and we hope a solution will be forthcoming soon," Ansip told reporters.

Justice Minister Hanno Pevkur also weighed in, saying: "The difference amounts to the fact that the Estonian court system works faster than the Indian one and thus the ambassador, consul or government officials there can't estimate how rapidly a solution could arrive."

The Indian coast guard detained the Seaman Guard Ohio on October 12 near Tuticorin. The crew included Estonians, Britons and Ukrainians in the employ of a US-headquartered maritime security company, Advanfort. They were held for more than two months before they were read formal charges on arms violations.


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