India very seriously pursuing release of arrested ship captain

New Delhi, Dec 6 : India said Friday it is "very seriously" pursuing the release of Indian merchant ship captain Sunil James, arrested in the west African country of Togo since July, whose son died Dec 2.

External affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said here at a briefing that "India is pursuing the matter very seriously (for the release) and will try its utmost to see that the family is reunited in its difficult times".

James' family is seeking his release so that he could return home for the last rites of his 11-month-old son Vivaan who died on Dec 2 of septicaemia in a Mumbai hospital.

James had stopped at Togo to report an attack on his ship MT Ocean Centurion by pirates when he was arrested on July 31, along with two other crew members, for allegedly aiding the pirates.

The sailor's wife, Aditi and other family members are desperately waiting for his arrival to conduct the last rites of his son whose body has been kept in a hospital morgue.

The spokesperson said the Indian mission in Accra (Ghana) is overseeing the matters regarding the release of James. "Since we came to know of his detention on Aug 7, our honorary consul in Lome (Togo) has met the three detained Indian sailors. He has met the minister of justice," he said.

After news of the son's death, the Indian authorities have once again taken up with Togo the matter of his release.

Akbaruddin said the Indian consul "hopes to meet the public prosecutor and try and see if they can meet the judge and on compassionate grounds see if Sunil James is allowed to be released.. We are pursuing the matter very seriously".

--IANS (Posted on 06-12-2013)

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