x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Families of UAQ fishermen held in Iran ask for help to bring them home

Families of four Emirati fishermen detained in Iran ask Ministry of Foreign Affairs to step in and help to return their loved ones

UMM AL QUWAIN // Families of four Emirati fishermen detained by Iran this month for allegedly trespassing have asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to help their men come home.

Saud Ali, Rashid Buharoun, Saeed Al Fallasi and Mohammed Eissa, all of UAQ, were detained with four Indian crewmen and one Bangladeshi on November 8.

The nine were on board a fishing boat that left UAQ on November 6. They were detained two days later by an Iranian patrol boat and taken to a police station.

Hussein Ali, the brother of Saud, said relatives of the four had been in contact with the ministry.

“If the ministry would send UAE embassy officials in Iran to investigate the case with the Iranian authorities, there would be a quick solution to the problem,” Mr Ali said.

He said the men had been allowed to make calls home but their detention was already taking its toll and two of them, Mr Buharoun and Mr Eissa, were reportedly sick.

Mr Ali said they were yet to be presented to a court and did not know what official charges would be made.

In July, five Emirati fishing boat captains and 21 Asian crewmen were released after being held in custody by Iran for two months.

They were on three boats seized by the Iranian coastguard after sailing into waters off Kish Island on May 12.

The men were released after the Emirati owners of two of the boats agreed to pay fines totalling Dh55,000.

Hussein Al Hajri, president of the UAQ Fishermen’s Association, said he always urged crews not to fish near oil installations or in the territorial waters of other countries.

Spokesmen from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were not available for comment.