In a heartbreaking setback for merchant navy captain Sunil James and his family, a Togo court rejected his application to attend the funeral of his 11-month-old son, who died on Monday.
This was the sixth application, filed on humanitarian grounds, by his lawyer in Togo for his release. James and two other crew members have been held captive in a Togo prison since July on charges of helping pirates when they went to the Togo naval base to report a pirate attack on their vessel.
Hoping that James would be released at least for a few days, the family has kept Vivaan’s body in a morgue and delayed the ceremonies. Now, they do not know what to do, or how long they should keep it there.
“We have tried everything. We don’t want to take away a father’s right to bid his son a final goodbye. We cannot tell him that we have buried his only son; he has suffered enough,” said Rakesh Madappa, James’ brother-in-law.
For James’ wife Aditi, her entire world is taken away from her, said her kin, as after James was captured in Togo, she had spent every day focussing on keeping her son happy.
Vivaan had died after developing septicemia from gangrene. His body is at Cooper hospital.
According to the family, James was on the merchant vessel MT Ocean along with 25 crew members when pirates attacked it off the coast of West Africa on July 16. On their release, when he went to the Togo naval base, he and his crew were detained on charges of abetting piracy and theft.
While the piracy charges were dropped, the theft charge remains.