Russia moves to secure bail for arrested ship crew in Nigeria

Russia moves to secure bail for arrested ship crew in Nigeria
# 17 January 2013 00:07 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. The Russian government, through it Ambassador to Nigeria, on Wednesday applied for the release on bail of 15 Russian sailors detained over an alleged illegal importation of firearms and ammunition into the west African country, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

Ambassador Mr. Alexander D. Polyakov made the move when he filed a bail application before a Lagos Magistrates' Court, Lagos, and urged the Chief Magistrate, Adeola Adedayo, to release the men to the embassy.

The ambassador promised to produce the men, all crew members of MV Myre Seadiver, a merchant vessel flying the Cook Island Flag, during their trial.

The Russians were arrested by the Nigerian Navy on Oct. 18, 2012, over an alleged illegal entry into Nigeria's territorial waters.

Among items allegedly recovered from the ship were arms and ammunition, including 14 assorted AK 47 rifles, 3,643 ammunition and 20 Benelli MRI 20mm barrel rifles with 4,995 ammunition.

Edidiong E. Idiong and Segun Sipeolu, the counsel firm to the Russians, held that their continued detention was contrary to Section 364 of the Administration of Justice Law of Lagos State.

They further argued the crew's remand was also contrary to Articles 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11 (1) of the United Nations Universal Declarations on Human Rights.

The defense said the crew had been in detention for about three months without any charges made against them, describing this as a violation of their fundamental human rights.

The court, after hearing the application, directed that copies of the processes should be served on the prosecution.

The magistrate, however adjourned the case till Jan. 28.

The crew were remanded on Jan. 11, following a formal application by the Lagos State commissioner of police. The application argued that the Russian's action violated the nation's sovereignty and contravened the essence of innocent passage and relevant international laws.

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