India Closes Case of Estonian Anti-Piracy Personnel
An Indian court decided at a hearing today to end the case against the crew of the Seaman Guard Ohio, including 14 Estonians, and they will most likely be allowed to leave the country in the coming days.
The judge in Chennai state terminated the case, retracting the charges of arms violations, the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported today.
The ruling does not apply to the captain of the ship.
Indian police in Tamil Nadu state arrested the men on October 18, accusing them of arms violations in Indian waters. The charges were formally read only on December 30. On March 28, after many false starts, a court granted bail, and the men were released on April 5. They are living in Chennai, where Advanfort is responsible for their housing and they have to report to a police precinct twice a day.
Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said it should be clear soon whether the decision will be appealed and said the ministry will help the men return home.
One of the 14 Estonians Roman Obeltšak told ETV today that the next days will see them dealing with bureaucracy and then they will be allowed to leave the country.