BCSM demands release of Bangladeshi fishermen in Qatar

The Bangladesh Civil Society for Migrants (BCSM) has demanded “immediate and unconditional” release of detained Bangladeshi fishermen in Qatar.

“We are deeply concerned that recently four Bangladeshi fishermen were arrested by Qatari authorities and sentenced to three months’ imprisonment with hefty fines and deportation to Bangladesh,” it said in a statement.

“We have learned from Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society (BHRWS) that these men did not have access to translators during their trial and were earlier held in prison for at least four months. Professional Fishermen Society (FPS) of Bahrain and BHRWS have urged Qatari government to release the workers.”

“It was confirmed by BHRWS that at the time of their arrest the expatriates were fishing in the Bahraini territorial water. It was also alleged that Qatar has endangered the health of these detained men as COVID 19 has already been detected in the country’s central prison. It is also disturbing to note that while several Bahraini nationals were released by the Qataris who were detained for the same offence, Bangladeshi nationals were detained, prosecuted and imprisoned.”

Earlier, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have issued reports about the misery of Asian workers in Qatar and the COVID 19 outbreak in the prison.

“Unfortunately, to the best of our knowledge Bangladesh embassy in Doha is yet to make headway in securing their release. As these fishermen did not get fair trials as alleged by BHRWS, we, the members of BCSM, demand for their immediate and unconditional release.

“We find Qatari authorities’ discrimination in their treatment between Bahraini and Bangladeshi nationals unacceptable. We urge the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Bangladesh to take immediate steps to ensure that these workers are released by Qatar,” read the statement.