Qatar to free 32 Indian fishermen

June 7, 2011

Bahrain-based Indian fishermen arrested in the Qatari waters for illegal fishing have been released by the prosecution and will soon be freed, an Indian embassy official has said.

“They have been released without any charges and will be soon sent out after completing some paper work,” said Sanjeev Kohli, Deputy Chief of the Indian embassy in Doha.

The 32 fishermen from Tamil Nadu state of India working in Bahrain were arrested by the Qatar Coast Guard on Friday and detained in Al Khor jail. They faced the prosecutor on Sunday.

“The process is in place and all needful official communication is being conducted by the embassy,” Nizar Kochery, legal adviser to the South Indian Fishermen Fraternity, said, quoted by Qatari daily The Peninsula.

“Usually the fishermen are produced in the courts, but this time they have been produced to the prosecution. The South Indian Fishermen Fraternity has no power of attorney to interfere to the issues and every communication is done by the embassy,” he said.

Dozens of Bahrain-based fishermen have been regularly arrested for by Qatar’s coastguards for reportedly entering Qatari waters illegally.

However, Manama and Doha went through a mini crisis last year following the arrest of more than 100 Bahraini and Indian fishermen.

Bahrainis often argue that they were either caught in international waters or that they were not aware of the sea boundaries.

Qatar says that it is keen on guarding its coasts amid concerns about possible security operations.

A call last year by Bahrain to allow Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) fishermen to operate freely in the GCC waters under trade rules that allow GCC citizens to work in other Gulf countries was not picked up by the other members of the alliance.



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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