Estonian anti-piracy crew members were released from prison today in India


Estonian citizens detained in India on October 18 were freed from Chennai prison today on bail. The Estonian Embassy in India's Deputy Head of Mission Margus Särglepp is in Chennai to be of help to the released Estonian citizens.

Foreign minister Urmas Paet said that the Estonian Embassy in India is providing full assistance to the Estonian citizens during the period when they are out on bail. Paet also expressed hope that the trial will continue as soon as possible, and will reach a settlement as quickly as possible.

The men will live in Chennai and their employer AdvanFort maritime security provider will arrange accommodation for the men there.

The conditions of being released on bail state that the Estonian citizens must remain in Chennai until the end of the trial and twice a day – at ten o'clock in the morning and eight o'clock in the evening – they must report to the local police station and record their presence by signature.
The anti-piracy crew's defence lawyers have submitted a request for a waiver of charges to the Indian court. The Tamil Nadu Supreme Court will discuss the application in Madurai next week.

On March 26, the Madurai panel of the Tamil Nadu Supreme Court decided to release the crew members of the Seaman Guard Ohio, including 14 Estonian maritime security guards, on bail. The decision was amended on March 28 and the Estonian citizens' employer AdvanFort paid the bail of 2.5 million rupee or about 30 250 euros on April 2, according to the final conditions for bail. The judge's decision concerning being released on bail contained among other things, a condition to find ten guarantors.

Indian Tamil Nadu state police arrested 35 crew members of the anti-piracy ship Seaman Guard Ohio, belonging to U.S. maritime security provider AdvanFort on October 18, including 14 Estonian citizens. On December 30, the entire detained crew was charged with illegal refuelling, handling illegal weapons and illegally entering territorial waters.

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