Kiribati President meets jailed seamen in Italy

The Kiribati President Taneti Maamau on Sunday met with eight I-Kiribati men who are in custody in Italy awaiting sentence on drugs trafficking offences.

A government statement said Mr Maamau extended warm greetings, provided counseling and heard of the needs of the men who are in three different prisons in Italy.

He told the former seamen with the company Hamburg Sud, to be obedient, patient and strong while serving their sentences.

The statement said each of the men regretted what they had done and the impact on the country and asked if they would be able to serve their terms in Kiribati.

The eight men were said to be in good conditions and most had started learning Italian.

President Maamau also highlighted his government's initiative to try and end drugs trafficking and has asked the seamen to convey this message to their colleagues, friends and families.

The men were arrested in October last year and are due to be sentenced next week.