Qatar: BCSM demands release of Bangladeshi fishermen

Bangladesh Civil Society for Migrants (BCSM) on Thursday demanded immediate and unconditional release of four Bangladeshi fishermen in Qatar.

BCSM, a platform of 19 civil society organisations, said recently four Bangladeshi fishermen were arrested by Qatar and sentenced to three months’ imprisonment with hefty fines.

These Bangladeshi men did not have access to translators during their trial and were earlier held in prison for at least four months, Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society (BHRWS) said.

Bahrain’s Professional Fishermen Society and BHRWS urged Qatar to release the workers.

The Bangladeshi expatriates were fishing in Bahrain’s territorial water at the time of their arrest, BHRWS said.

It was also alleged that Qatar endangered the health of these detained men as Covid-19 had already been detected in the country’s central prison.

Also, while several Bahrainis, who were detained for the same offence, were released by Qatar; the Bangladeshi nationals were detained, prosecuted, and imprisoned.

Earlier, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch 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’s Embassy in Doha is yet to make headway in securing their release,” BCSM said.

As these fishermen did not get a fair trial as alleged by BHRWS, BCSM demanded their immediate and unconditional release.

“We find Qatar’s discrimination in the treatment between Bahraini and Bangladeshi nationals unacceptable. Also, we urge the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to take immediate steps to ensure that these workers are released by Qatar,” the civil society organisation said.