India trying to bring back jailed sailor

New Delhi, Dec 6 : India on Friday said it is trying bring back jailed Captain Sunil James in India so that he could perform the last rites of his son Vivaan who passed away this month.

Eleven-month-old Vivaan, who was reportedly suffering from septicemia died in a Mumbai hospital on Dec 2. His body is preserved at the hospital morgue.

Sunil James's family is seeking his release so that he could perform the last rites of his son.

"Our Mission in Accra is overseeing activities in Togo, and our High Commissioner in Accra is concurrently accredited to Togo. We also have an Honourary Consul located in Lome. And since we came to know of this detention - I think it was on August 2 that our Mission came to know about this - our Honourary Consul has met the three Indian sailors who have been detained. He has also met the Minister of Justice of Togo, the Attorney General of Togo, the Minister of Security of Togo, and the Commander of the National Gendarme of Togo," Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin told reporters.

"He has had access previously to the three Indian sailors including Captain Sunil James, and has pursued with his lawyer - there is a lawyer appointed by the company which owns and manages this ship where the sailors were working - in unison with him they have met the three detained sailors and have had consular access. This is of course a matter of the past," he said.

"Now, after that unfortunate incident there has been a rather sad twist to this entire story that the child of Captain Sunil James passed away unfortunately," he said.

Akbaruddin said: "This is a heart-rending story. Once this information was available to our High Commission, immediately they have once again taken the matter up and even as we speak, yesterday evening, a Consular officer from our Mission in Accra has travelled to Lome, he is there in Lome today. He hopes to meet the public prosecutor along with our Honourary Consul and also try and see if he could meet the judge, explain the current situation and request that on compassionate grounds if Captain Sunil James is allowed to be released."

He said India is trying hard to unite the family.

"We are pursuing this matter very vigorously with all seriousness. We understand the humanitarian dimensions of it. And please rest assured that we will try our utmost to see if we can unite this family in their difficult times," Akbaruddin said.

Sunil James was arrested in Togo in July this year.

"Sunil had left Mumbai in April 2013 on a contract with a UK based shipping company. He had stopped at Togo to report an attack on his ship by pirates when he was arrested on false charges of aiding the pirates," CNN-IBN reported.

--IBNS (Posted on 07-12-2013)

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