The Jakarta Post
Three Indonesian fishermen detained by Indian authorities in September of last year returned to Indonesia on Thursday morning, the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry has announced.
They were Munazir, 34, Karauddin, 43, and Azman Syah, 30, from Aceh.
The men were working aboard fishing vessel KM Athiya 02 when they were arrested by Indian authorities in the Andaman Sea for alleged visa violations and illegal fishing.
The ministry’s marine and fishery resources management director general, TB Haeru Rahayu, said Indian authorities had released the fishermen from detention. He cautioned other fishermen to obey fishing regulations so that similar cases would not occur.
“We appreciated the Foreign Ministry for its cooperation in repatriating our fishermen. This is our commitment to protect our citizens, including fishermen,” Haeru said in a statement on Thursday.
According to a statement from the Indonesian Embassy in New Delhi, the three fishermen were found not guilty by a court in Andaman and Nicobar. However, the embassy said they could not return to Indonesia because India had imposed a COVID-19 lockdown in the country, stopping flights between the two countries.
Officials from the embassy brought the fishermen from Andaman to New Delhi on Oct. 3 to be repatriated along with other Indonesian citizens.
Separately, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry regulation violation management acting director Nugroho Aji said at least 88 Indonesian fishermen had been detained abroad and were awaiting trial for alleged illegal fishing in foreign waters.
Of the 88 fishermen, 32 were in Malaysia, 50 were in India, five were in Papua New Guinea and one was in Myanmar. (dis)