Iraqi fishermen prepare their nets
Iraqi fishermen prepare their nets in the port of Iraq's southernmost Faw peninsula in 2011. Kuwait on Wednesday returned to Iraq 44 fishermen and six vessels seized for crossing into its territorial waters, the interior ministry said. © Ahmad al-Rubaye - AFP/File
Iraqi fishermen prepare their nets
AFP
Last updated: March 28, 2012

Kuwait returns 44 detained fishermen to Iraq

Kuwait on Wednesday returned to Iraq 44 fishermen and six vessels seized for crossing into its territorial waters, the interior ministry said.

After the emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, pardoned the men and ordered their repatriation, the fishermen and vessels were handed over to Iraqi authorities, it said in a statement, without stating when they were detained.

Sheikh Sabah is due to travel to Baghdad on Thursday to attend the Arab summit, in the first visit by a Kuwaiti ruler since Iraqi forces invaded the emirate in August 1990.

Seizing Iraqi fishing boats and arresting fishermen for crossing into Kuwaiti waters has become commonplace in past few months.

Iraqi fishermen have repeatedly complained of harassment by Kuwaiti and Iranian coast guards, but Kuwait maintains they are detained only when they enter its territorial waters.

A Kuwaiti coast guard was killed in January 2011 in a shootout with Iraqi sailors inside territorial waters. Iraqi authorities said three fishermen were wounded and four others went missing.

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