Somali envoy urges pirates to set Indian hostages free | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Somali envoy urges pirates to set Indian hostages free

Somalian Ambassador to India Ebyan Mahamed Salah Tuesday urged pirates to release the remaining seven Indian crew members of MV Asphalt Venture being held hostage for the past few months even after ransom was paid.

mumbai Updated: Jun 07, 2011 22:10 IST

Somalian Ambassador to India Ebyan Mahamed Salah Tuesday urged pirates to release the remaining seven Indian crew members of MV Asphalt Venture being held hostage for the past few months even after ransom was paid.

She said that the Indian crew held hostage have no connection with the 100 Somalis accused of piracy and detained in India, while going around the Taloja Jail here where many Somali pirates arrested by Indian authorities are lodged.

Hijacked Sep 28, 2010 from off the coast of Tanzania, the Asphalt Venture's crew included 15 Indian crew members, of whom eight were released last month.

The remaining seven continue to remain in the captivity of the pirates.

Salah, who went around the prison, said she found the conditions clean and hygienic, while the Somali pirates were in good health and cheerful.

Some of the accused requested for writing material from the jail authorities to which the latter readily agreed.

The pirates will be allowed to write letters to their family members and these will be sent to Salah who would arrange to convey them to their respective homes.

Salah also sought to know the age of the Somali nationals, some of whom informed they were minors - below 18 years of age.

The Indian authorities are expected to carry out relevant tests on the minors and if confirmed, they would be shifted to special remand homes and tried under the Juvenile Justice Act.

According to an Indian official who accompanied the ambassador, Salah was satisfied with the conditions in the prison and expressed the view that the Indian legal system is robust, just and very fair.

She also expressed confidence that those who are not involved in the piracy acts would be dealt with sympathetically.