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Indian gets 3 years in Bahrain

Rajendrakumar Ramjibhai is sentenced to 3-year jail by a Bahranian court on charges of manslaughter of 58 people.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, Dubai
UPDATED ON MAY 24, 2007 04:37 PM IST

An Indian captain of a dhow was sentenced to three years imprisonment by a court in Bahrain after holding him guilty of manslaughter of 58 people, including 17 Indians, who died in a ferry mishap last year.

The Bahraini owner of the Al Dana ferry was jailed for 10 years by a lower court. The dhow carrying 137 people capsized in calm seas off the coast of Bahrain, killing at least 57 people on March 30, 2006.

Rajendrakumar Ramjibhai was arrested shortly after the disaster and had been in custody for the past 13 months, which would count as part of his sentence.

The owner Abdulla Al Kobaisi was, however, immediately released on BD10,000 (Rs 10,75,819 approx) bail, pending appeal against the verdict.

Meanwhile, an Indian survivor of Al Dana tragedy expressed delight at the verdict, saying it is a fitting end to "one of the tragedies of our time".

"The 10-year jail sentence for Bahraini dhow owner Abdulla Al Kobaisi was fair, but that the Indian captain should never have been prosecuted," Ashfaqe Shabu Kambat said.

"Why should the poor man be charged? He was simply following the orders of the owner. He was not a trained captain. He would obviously do what the owner told him. Had he been a professional, he would have refused to sail and there was nothing anyone could have done. I feel sorry for him," the Indian national was quoted as saying by the Gulf Daily News.

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