The release of 14 Estonian seamen who spent over two months, including Christmas, in an jail in India without being charged continues to be postponed, but the men have at least now been read formal charges.
The Foreign Ministry confirmed to uudised.err.ee that the men were formally charged on December 30, but the Estonian ambassador said their lawyers have not seen the charges and efforts continue to center on getting the men out.
The men, employees of the US-based maritime security firm Advanfort, were in court today (January 3) in Tamil Nadu to contest the postponement of their release on bail. The bail bond has already been paid.
Estonian Ambassador to India Viljar Lubi told ERR radio that the court did not come to a decision after hearing both sides, but this is expected on Monday.
"The bail bond is paid, but the prosecutor is trying to lengthen the process, although the defender feels it is not justified. The court signalled to both parties that the decision would be made on January 6," Lubi said.
After several past incidents, India has taken a tough stance on armed vessels moving through its territorial waters.
Possible Release of Estonian Pirate Hunters to Be Decided Monday