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MEA to Delhi HC: Legal Aid under consideration to help stranded seafarers

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Delhi HC - law insider

Swarna Shukla-

Published On: October 13, 2021 at 15:04 IST

The Ministry of External Affairs informed the Delhi High Court that five Indian seafarers stranded in Iran are being provided with help by the Indian Mission and assured the Court that necessary support will be provided to them.

Justice Rekha Palli was hearing a Plea moved by the families of the seafarers stranded in Iran even after their acquittal in a conspiracy case by an Iranian Court.

During the hearing, the Centre submitted that the Indian Mission has facilitated the seafarers with boarding and lodging facilities, clothing, toiletries, etc. weekly.

On the matter of extending legal assistance to the seafarers concerning their case pending before the Supreme Court of Iran, the Centre said, “Legal assistance was extended to them by the local authorities during Judicial Proceedings of the case. Further, it may be noted, since their case is sub-judice on charges of narcotics smuggling (300 kg Morphine), which is a serious offence, providing legal assistance to them, in this case, is under consideration as per extant ICWF Rules.”

The five seafarers were given job assurance in the United Arab Emirates. However, they were taken to Iran where they were made to join a cargo vessel and perform servant duties.

Iranian authorities conducted a raid on the vessel and arrested the seafarers, along with the captain, and they were charged with conspiracy to smuggle narcotics into the deep sea. The Trial Court acquitted the five seafarers on March 9, 2021.

However, the Iranian authorities refused to hand over the passports and languished them behind bars for 403 days. The matter is pending in the Supreme Court of Iran.

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