Four Britons held in Eritrea are freed: Britain

12th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

Four British men detained in Eritrea and held without consular access for six months have been released and are on their way back to Britain, the Foreign Office said on Sunday.

The men, who are reportedly former soldiers working as private contractors guarding a merchant ship from pirates, were detained after their ship was intercepted by the Eritrean navy in December.

The Foreign Office said Qatar had helped to secure their release.

"We are pleased that the four British nationals have now been able to leave Eritrea and can be reunited with family and friends," a Foreign Office spokeswoman said.

"We are very grateful to the Government of the State of Qatar for helping facilitate their return."

However, the Foreign Office said it was concerned that Eritrea failed to respond to its requests for consular access throughout the men's imprisonment and added it would "continue to raise this matter" with the Eritrean authorities.

© 2011 AFP

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