Captain Sunil James freed from Togo jail, on way back to India
Captain Sunil James of oil tanker MT Ocean Centurian, who was arrested in July on charges of aiding pirates off the coast of Togo, has been released.
Zee Media Bureau/Himanshu Kapoor
New Delhi: Indian sailor Captain Sunil James, who was arrested in July on charges of aiding pirates off the coast of Togo, was released in the wee hours of Thursday.
External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said James and another Indian sailor, Vijayan, have begun their journey back to India.
Captain James spent six months in jail in Togo.
Reacting to the development, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said, "I am satisfied & happy, I am grateful to those who worked for his release."
The family of James also thanked the Prime Minister after shortly after getting the news of Captain James` release from Togo jail.
Earlier this month, the family members of Sunil James had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking his intervention in getting the sailor released to conduct the last rites of his 11-month-old son who died of septicaemia in a hospital on December 2.
However, it not yet clear whether the charges levelled against James have been completely dropped. James had filed an application asking to be released on parole to conduct the last rites of his son.
Syed Akbaruddin said, "Securing Captain James release was really difficult. President of Togo intervened and ensured justice." Akbaruddin had on Wednesday said that India`s High Commissoner in Accra met with President Gnassingbe of Togo seeking early release of James and other Indian sailors.
James had stopped at Togo to report an attack on his ship MT Ocean Centurion by pirates when he was arrested July 31, along with two other crew members, for allegedly aiding the pirates.