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Wife may travel to Togo to plead for jailed sailor

The judge presiding the case deferred his decision to the next week at a hearing on Thursday,James’ family said.

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai | Published: December 7, 2013 3:44:47 am

A day after an application was filed in a Togo court seeking the release of merchant navy Captain Sunil James,his wife Aditi is preparing to travel to the West African country to plead with authorities herself,the family said.

The judge presiding the case deferred his decision to the next week at a hearing on Thursday,James’ family said. 28-year-old Sunil James and two of his colleagues have been detained in Togo since July on charges of abetting pirates after reporting a attack on their vessel in African waters. All three men have since been under house arrest at a VIP facility.

The family was bereaved this week when Sunil’s 11-month-old son Vivaan died on Tuesday due to septicemia. The family had filed an application seeking Sunil’s release in order to perform the last rites. Vivaan’s body has been preserved in the mortuary of Cooper Hospital,with his family determined to not conduct the funeral until Sunil returns home.

“Following the news of the death,Sunil has stopped eating and drinking. We are very concerned for his health. Aditi believes she will lose her husband to madness and is contemplating a flight to Togo as soon as possible to be with him,” her brother Rakesh Madappa said.

He said the haste had been induced by the judge’s deferment of the decision.

“Our lawyer in Togo said the judge handling Sunil’s case does not want to provide a ruling at least until Monday of the coming week. No reason was provided,” he said.

Representatives for Accord Marine,the firm that Sunil is contracted to,said the judge has yet to take a decision.

“Our lawyers have told us that a meeting is currently underway with the judge. We are hoping that a decision is taken today. The investigation by the Togo Navy is almost complete and judiciary should pass a judgment soon. In the coming days,we may also leave for Togo but do not yet know of Aditi’s plans,” Captain Nilesh Gandhi of Accord Marine.

Govt in talks to secure release

NEW DELHI: India is in talks with the judicial as well as civilian authorities in Togo to secure the release of a jailed Indian sailor Captain Sunil James. Asserting that the Indian Mission in Accra was overseeing the developments in the case,the Ministry of External Affairs’ official spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said here on Friday that a consular official from the mission has travelled to Togo to approach the judge and make a plea on “compassionate ground” in this “heart-wrenching” incident. The spokesperson said the mission and India’s Honorary Consul in Lome have been in touch with Togo authorities,including the Minister of Justice since August 2,when the matter came to their attention. ENS

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