22 Indian fishermen detained in Qatar released

May 28th, 2008 - 8:40 pm ICT by admin  

Dubai, May 28 (IANS) Twenty-two of the 26 Indian fishermen from Saudi Arabia who were detained in Qatar for over three weeks have been released after their Saudi sponsor paid fines to authorities. The released fishermen left Qatar for Saudi Arabia Tuesday night, the Gulf Times reported.

The 26 fishermen, along with their six boats, were detained May 5 by the country’s coast guard after they strayed into Qatari waters from Saudi Arabia.

According to the report, the Saudi sponsors paid 50,000 Qatari riyals ($13,737) for each of the six seized boats to secure their release.

The other four, who are still under detention, will be freed within a few days.

“Since some of their documents were missing, their release may be delayed for a few more days,” the newspaper quoted an Indian embassy official in Doha as saying.

The detained fishermen said their Saudi sponsor was not keeping well and once he arrived in Qatar with the necessary documents, they would be able to travel back to Qathif near Dammam in Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, four other Indian fishermen from Bahrain, who were detained May 4 for similar reasons, were still awaiting release.

All the eight detained fishermen are being kept at the Ruwais fishing harbour.

According to the newspaper, the Indian Community Benevolent Fund (ICBF) in Qatar was providing food to the fishermen and would continue to do so till their release.

Four of the 30 fishermen hail from Kerala while the rest are from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu.

Over 30 Indian fishermen from Dammam in Saudi Arabia were also detained for straying into Qatari waters last year. They were released two months later after their Saudi sponsors paid the required fines.

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