Five crew members of Indian cargo ship 'MV Andromeda' arrived in Mumbai on Sunday after spending 14 months in Coridadulos prison in Greece.
The five crew members were welcomed at the airport by the Maritime Union of India (MUI), the oldest and leading organisation of merchant navy officers in the country.
"In January 2018, when the cargo ship MV Andromeda landed at the Pierce Harbor in Greece, local authorities detained five Indian seafarers, namely, Satish Vishwanath Patil, Jaideep Thakur, Bhupinder Singh, Pritam Singh, and Balkar Singh, and later imprisoned them. They were arrested on charges of carrying explosive materials on the ship," said Amar Singh Thakur, Secretary General at the MUI.
"Five Indian seafarers were released 15 days after the court ruled that the 'explosive material' confiscated was, in fact, raw materials for crackers and not banned explosive material," Thakur said.
The Coridadallos prison is infamous for the overwhelming and inhuman treatment given to the prisoners.
"The Maritime Union of India will extend all support for medical and psychiatric treatment of the five crew members," Thakur said.
"However, I would like to thank External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj along with the Greek and Indian embassies which helped us in bringing the crew members back to the country," he said.
After returning to India, these five people will also be seeing Director General of Shipping, Amitabh Kumar, Thakur said.
"This case came to us 14-15 months ago. We had to bring back the boys somehow as we had promised their parents," said Harmesh Singh, head of the Indian Group, an NGO in Greece, who helped the detained officers to fight the legal battle against the Greek Police.
One of the prisoners, who was arrested by the Greek authorities, said: "It was a very difficult time for us. We somehow got into their boundaries and were arrested."
"There were some explosives in our ship which we were not aware of. The judiciary trusted us and made an investigation. However, we were released 14 months later. It was very hard to live there but thanks to the efforts of our government, we got released faster," he said.
Source: The Economic Times
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