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Saudi Arabia releases most arrested Egyptian fishermen

61 Egyptian fishermen released after Friday's arrest in Saudi's Red Sea; 4 in detention likely to be charged

Ahram Online, Monday 24 Feb 2014

Saudi Arabia released on Monday tens of Egyptian fishermen arrested three days ago for fishing in the kingdom's territorial waters.

Four of the fishermen, including two captains, are still being held by Saudi authorities, said Adel Alfy, Egypt's Consul-General in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Last Friday, Saudi naval police arrested 65 Egyptian fishermen sailing in two boats in the Red Sea near Farasan Island, off the kingdom's southwestern coast.

One fisherman was shot dead during the arrest when Saudi border guards opened fire on the boats after those on board failed to heed orders to halt and surrender.

The captains of both boats along with two others are being detained at a border guard's office in southern Saudi Arabia, Alfy told Al-Ahram's Arabic news website.

The Egyptian consulate is in communication with the boats' owners to send new crew members to deliver the boats back to Egpyt, Alfy added.

While not uncommon for Egyptian fishermen to land in trouble with Saudi officials over nautical borders, Friday's incident looks as though it will be handled differently, with the four still in detention likely to face jail terms and not the usual small fines.

Alfy said that Egyptian authorities are negotiating with their Saudi counterparts to try to reduce the fishermen's possible sentences, based on charges of crossing the kingdom's territorial waters without a permit and illegally catching up to 2000 kg of fish.


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