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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Wednesday, 21.11.2018, 00:00

Estonian Europarliamentarians ask for Ashton's help to anti-pirate guards

BC, Tallinn, 16.01.2014.Print version
In connection with the arrest of the 35 crew members of anti-pirate ship Seaman Guard Ohio in October last year, Estonia's European Parliament members made a joint statement to the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for the European Union Catherine Ashton, LETA/Public Broadcasting reports.

The MPs point out the fact that the crew, 20 people of whom are European Union citizens, i.e. 14 from Estonia and 6 from the UK, are held in prison in inhumane conditions for the third month.

 

The MPs also stress the need to guarantee the prisoners a fast and just court process.

 

Initiators of the statement, Siiri Oviir and Ivari Padar say that the recent behaviour of the Indian authorities is incomprehensible. On January 8, the court decision dating back to December 26 to free the crew of Seaman Guard Ohio on bail was annulled, referring to the danger against India's national security.

 

"I think it is weird to hear the explanations of Indian authorities how 35 anti-pirate guards who, risking their own lives, had offered help to guarantee security in international waters, are a threat to India, a big country with over 1.2 billion in population. Naturally we don't wish to doubt the competence of the Indian court system but unfortunately this court process has ignored international legal norms, been incomprehensible and based more on emotions than facts," said Siiri Oviir.

 

The statement also included the explanations of Estonian anti-pirate guards about what had happened. They said they were in international waters when the Indian coastguard ordered them at gunpoint on October 12 to land at the Indian port town Tuticorin. After waiting in the port for six days, they were asked to leave the ship to allegedly take the crew to a hospital for a check-up but actually they were taken to the police station where they were arrested.

 

"I would like to hope that the treatment of the prisoners by Indian authorities that rudely violates the human rights of the imprisoned is not connected to a regrettable case a couple of years ago when Italian marines shot and killed by mistake two Indian fishermen and they are not trying to show Western states their place with the current incident. We hope that the more powerful interference of the European Union foreign service helps to guarantee faster and just court proceedings," said Ivari Padar.

 

The statement is signed by Siiri Oviir, Ivari Padar, Indrek Tarand, Tunne Kelam, Kristiina Ojuland and Vilja Savisaar-Toomast.






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