Vadodara: Fourteen Somali pirates and
three Yemeni fishermen captured off the Saurashtra coast last
year have been released by Gujarat Police.
They were captured from Nadel, a small port in
Junagadh district, in June 2011. The pirates and fishermen
were set free yesterday after the State Government withdrew
cases filed against them, J M Sakhanpara, Public Prosecutor,
said on Saturday by phone.
R M Italiya, Chief Judicial Magistrate, ordered their
release following the Government`s decision, he said.
The decision came after the Mumbai-based Consulate
General of Yemen took up the matter with the Government of
India and told them that the arrested Yemeni nationals were
genuine fishermen whose boat `144 AL Badr-2 was seized by 14
After communication from the Consulate General`s
office, the Centre wrote to Gujarat Government asking it to
withdraw the cases, Sanjar V Kadri, defence lawyer for Yemeni
The boat with 17 persons on board - 14 Somalis and
three Yemenis - was seized by the police on June 22 last year
for illegally entering Indian waters. Its occupants were
arrested under various provisions of Indian Passport Act and
Maritime Zone Act, 1981, among others.
Police believed the boat had exhausted fuel and
drifted towards the Saurashtra coast in high tide. The pirates
were released since nothing incriminating had been recovered
from their possession during interrogation by various security
agencies, police sources said.