Qatar frees Bahrain-based fishermen
Manama, December 21, 2010
Five Bahrain-based fishermen, arrested in Qatar in late October, were released after they managed to pay a fine of 7,000 Qatari riyals (BD725).
They were arrested after allegedly straying into Qatar's territorial waters and detained in Doha's Um Salal Prison.
A Qatari court had ordered their release on December 13 provided they pay the amount, which has now been covered by the Indian government.
The fishermen included Powlin Fernando Xavier, Rubis Antony Karloos, Jemin Jesu Rethinam, Maria Lawrence Maria Soosai and Ramesh Milkias.
Other Indian fishermen that are still in custody are John Britto, Siluvai Pillai, Sahaya Raj Thason, Peter Romeraj Soosaileon, Sahaya Raja Thason, Anthony Cruz, Balu Pattani, Sesuputhian Anthonipillai, Rajen Clements, Sahayarubus Thason and Antony Sebastin Vincent.
Their case was adjourned to December 27.
'Five fishermen from Bahrain have been released so far,' South Asian Fishermen Fraternity secretary-general Father John Churchill told our sister newspaper Gulf Daily News (GDN) from India.
'The plan is to send them to Bahrain first and from there to India to meet their families.
'All the expenses will be paid by the Tamil Nadu state government.'
The fishermen's plight came to light when Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi sought the Indian government's intervention in securing their release.
In letters to External Affairs Minister S M Krishna and Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi, he said the fishermen had gone to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain for work and were arrested by Qatari authorities 'for having inadvertently entered' their waters.
An Indian Lok Sabha MP J Helen Davidson, from Kanyakumari Constituency, has also been following up the case.
She had written letters to Karunanidhi and Ravi, to take immediate action for the fishermen's release.
Qatar has arrested 49 Indian fishermen, 28 from Saudi Arabia and 21 from Bahrain, according to officials.-TradeArabia News Service