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Indian sailor Sunil James released in Togo

India was in touch with Togo authorities to secure on compassionate ground the release of Indian sailor Sunil James whose family wanted him to conduct the last rites of his 11-month-old son.

india Updated: Dec 20, 2013 09:30 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
captain sunil james,Syed Akbaruddin,foreign ministry

Indian merchant ship captain, Sunil James, who was under arrest in Togo since July for allegedly aiding pirates, has been released along with another sailor, the external affairs ministry said on Thursday.

"After meet between #India's High Commissoner in Accra & Prez Gnassingbe of #Togo Capt Sunil James & Vijayan released. Now with HC Sagar," MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin wrote on Twitter.

James and Vijayan are set to leave for India on Thursday, Akbaruddin posted.

He will reach Mumbai later in the day.

James had stopped in the west African country 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.

India was in touch with authorities in Togo to secure James' release on compassionate ground after his 11-month-old son died on December 2.

The family of James thanked the government after he was released from a Togo jail where he spent almost five months.

"It has been a very tough fight. It has finally come to an end. I am satisfied with the efforts that the government has put in," said James' wife Aditi.

"We are grateful to the Indian government for helping us bring James, a father back to his waiting son. We are relieved that he will finally be back," Rakesh Madappa, James' brother-in-law added.

Aditi and other members of his family met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on December 10 seeking his early release so that he could return home for the last rites of Vivaan. They had also organised a peace march across several states recently.

"After we met the Prime Minister, things have actually fast-tracked for us. PMO put in its best efforts to get him out, I am thankful to them," she added.

Vivaan underwent an operation for intestinal gangrene but doctors could not save him as the infection had spread to his bloodstream. His body has been kept in a hospital morgue.

"We have to make him accept that Vivaan is no more. It will be difficult for him to cope up with this," said Madappa.

(With inputs from ANI, IANS and PTI)

First Published: Dec 19, 2013 08:26 IST