Specifically, Captain Gennadiy Gavrylov, a Ukrainian seafarer, was arrested in Sri Lanka on June 23 2016 after a regular police inspection in relation to the Sri Lankan flagged ship Avant Garde and was not allowed to leave the country thereafter.

#Background 

In fact, in October 2015, Sri Lankan authorities confiscated Avant Garde that was anchored outside Sri Lankan waters as instructed by the operating company, and forced its entry into Sri Lankan waters, while Gavrylov was awaiting clearance to bring the ship into the port. The ship then stayed in port and Gavrylov onboard the vessel.

On June 23 2016, the captain was arrested in Sri Lanka for illegal admission of arms and was not allowed to leave the country since.

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During the three years of his detention, Captain Gavrylov, not having officially charged with any crime, was not allowed to contact his family and leave the country; Thus not being able to earn a living during the three-year custody, Gavrylov was also suffering from a serious heart problem needing surgery in Ukraine.

Stephen Cotton, the ITF general secretary, highlighted that

In anchoring the Avant Garde outside Sri Lankan waters, and subsequently entering Sri Lankan waters on the orders of the Sri Lankan Navy, it is clear that Capt. Gavrylov never intended to commit any crime. He was merely following what he believed to be legitimate orders issued by his employer and the Sri Lankan authorities.

The president of the ITF,  Paddy Crumlin, commented that Gavrylov's arrest and detention for almost four years, "is a clear breach of his human rights and a classic example of criminalization".

He also added that

Criminalisation occurs when seafarers are charged with offenses related to their role at sea and is an issue with a rising profile at both the ILO and IMO. While charges may be justified, it is important that seafarers, and all people, are treated fairly and have access to justice. Capt. Gavrylov has been denied justice and, we believe has been unfairly criminalized.

Notably, Gavrylov met with Paddy Crumlin, president of the ITF; Stephen Cotton, ITF general secretary and Oleg Grigoryuk, vice president of the Maritime Transport Workers Union of Ukraine (MTWTU) last month during the ITF’s Maritime Roundtable conference. On its part, the MTWTU is examining all diplomatic direction in order to safeguard Gavrylov’s secure and prompt return to Ukraine so that he receives the much needed medical attention.

In fact, the rights of individuals who are subject to detention by state authorities and are made clear by International law, are contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

Article 9 of the ICCPR states that every person has the right to liberty and that any person “arrested or detained on a criminal charge... shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release.