Scots in Azerbaijan plea for help to get home

The Scottish pair had been working on oil rigs off the coast of Baku, Azerbaijan. Picture: AP

The Scottish pair had been working on oil rigs off the coast of Baku, Azerbaijan. Picture: AP

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A PAIR of North Sea oil workers detained after a nightclub brawl in Azerbaijan have pleaded for the Scottish Government to help them get home.

Mark Munro and Allan Tait are trapped after the pair became embroiled up in a nightclub fight in the capital Baku.

Mark Munro, left, with his girlfriend Karyse Anderson. Picture: Newsline

Mark Munro, left, with his girlfriend Karyse Anderson. Picture: Newsline

Mr Tait has admitted he was involved in the brawl and paid several thousand pounds in compensation to one of the ­victims.

Both men have been slapped with travel restrictions forcing them to remain in the city until the situation is resolved, despite police saying there is no evidence against him.

Several weeks have now passed since they were questioned and charged by police, and they have now appealed to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon for help.

Yesterday the pair described their situation as “scary” and said they were getting increasingly frustrated by the delays in resolving their case.

We keep being told it’s this week, but weeks have gone by and become months. It’s scary stuff.”

Mark Munro

Mr Munro, 30, from Wick, said: “The embassy say that it’s to do with procedures and they can’t seem to intervene. We keep being told it’s this week, but weeks have gone by and become months. It’s scary stuff.”

The incident happened on the first night Mr Munro and his workmates went ashore after a period working on a BP rig off the country’s east coast.

Mr Munro is an offshore industrial cleaner for Cape, which is working in a joint venture agreement with the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic.

Both he and Mr Tait, a mechanic from Aberdeen, were detained by police after the incident and appeared in court.

Mr Munro has said he has paid compensation and was told the charges had been dropped.

The pair were later released and they returned to work, but a few days later they were ordered back ashore by police for further questioning.

They had their passports confiscated, and although their documents were returned after pressure from the British Embassy, the men were banned from leaving the country.

Mr Munro has said he is now spending large sums of money to stay in a hotel and is starting to feel the strain.

He said: “It’s starting to get on top of me. I just don’t know what’s happening.”

It was Mr Tait’s first time working offshore in a foreign country and he described the experience as “pretty worrying”.

His stepmother, Pauline, said: “He’s doing terrible. He’s got good days and bad days and we’re now worried about his state of mind.

“The authorities are not giving him many answers and it only seems to be ‘we’ll get back to you’. There’s no time frame, one day they’ll say it’s a day, then they’ll say it’s 20 days or a month.

“What we don’t understand is why Allan is still being held. He’s paid compensation and has a receipt for it as proof too.

“We just want answers. It never seems to be the end of it.”

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