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Six Kiribati seafarers released from Italian prison

The Kiribati Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration says six of the eight seafarers from Kiribati who were detained in Italy for drug-trafficking charges have been acquitted and released by the Court of Appeal of Reggio Calabria last Wednesday.

The six seafarers, Bakitua Kirabuke, Buranibeia Tiaon, Mareweata Karutaake, Teata Kinibura, Ataua Koraubara and Kabwebwenibeia Kakiaman, were assisted by Kiribati’s Minister of Environment, Lands and Agricultural Development, Alexander Teabo and his delegation who were in Italy attending a conference. 

The six arrived in the country today with the minister and his delegation.

Repatriation costs for them was provided by the Kiribati Government.

The remaining two seafarers, Iotaake Tioti and Teiti Burataake have been sentenced by the Italian court to 6 and 15 years respectively. They will serve their time at the Reggio Calabria prison.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration through the Italian Embassy in Wellington will continue to monitor the status and welfare of the two seafarers.

The eight seafarers were first detained aboard the Hamburg Sud’s container ship, ‘Rio de Janeiro’, on 19 October 2016 during the ship’s routine trip to the Italian port of Gioia Tauro from Brazil.

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