Confusion over fate of Bahrain-based fishermen tried in Qatar

June 7, 2010

Reports about the fate of Bahraini and expatriate fishermen being tried in Qatar for allegedly illegally entering Qatari waters clashed, causing confusion among their families and friends.

 An initial report said that the Qatari court on Monday morning ordered the release of 14 Bahrainis after paying a QR 1,000 fine. However, hours later, news from Qatar said that the local public prosecutor objected to the verdict and appealed the sentence.

The move meant that the Bahraini fishermen would remain under police custody until the court issues another ruling. No date for the new trial was mentioned.

A Bahraini human rights activist said in Doha that the Qatari court had freed 24 Bahraini and eight Asian fishermen before the public prosecutor appealed the ruling.

Slightly less than 100 Bahraini and Asian fishermen were scheduled to be tried in Qatar on Monday and Tuesday amid hopes that they would be freed following the thaw in the tension that gripped Manama and Doha mainly over the nomination of former information minister Mohammad Al Mutawa as the next secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Qatar was the only GCC country to object to the nomination in retaliation for Al Mutawa’s attitudes and statements during the border conflict between the two neighbours in the 1990s.

Following mediation by Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, Bahrain nominated Abdul Lateef Al Zayani to take over in April from incumbent secretary general Abdul Rahman Al Atiyyah, a Qatari national.

Adel Al Taweel, the Bahraini fishermen who needed special medical care after he was shot by Qatari coastguards in May allegedly for not heeding warnings to leave Qatari waters, was not among those who stood the trial on Monday, Bahraini sources said.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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