Seaman Guard Ohio Crew Denied Bail, Still No Charges
An Indian court yesterday again denied bail for the crew members of the Seaman Guard Ohio, an anti-piracy vessel seized by Indian authorities in October on suspicion of unlicensed arms transportation.
The deadline for the preliminary investigation was postponed till December 20. But charges still haven't been brought against the crew, which includes 14 Estonians. With no charges, they may be held for up to 90 days.
The Estonian consul in New Delhi, Margus Särglepp, who has been in contact with the detainees in Chennai, told ETV that defense lawyers are considering an appeal to India's supreme court.
Särglepp said the crew has been held in good conditions, privileged with the right to cook their own food.
But the son of one of the Estonian crew members commented on prison conditions saying they were "living as if in a trash can."
"Two months have passed, their documents appear to be in order, but people are still in custody […] For some reason we can't get information on what they have done wrong. There has to be a reason they are sitting there," the son said.
"We have written letters twice but we still don't know if they have arrived. I received the first letter from my father seven days ago and there were no answers to our questions. He had written a completely new letter," he said.
Dave Yonkman, a spokesman for the ship's owner, US-based private security company Advanfort, said: "They're languishing in a prison. They're going to be held there in all likelihood through the holidays."
He said: "We're doing everything possible. We have a team of nine top-flight lawyers in India who are working this case around the clock."