Cyprus Mail

Fishermen remanded in custody by ‘court’ in north

Five Egyptian fishermen on a Cypriot boat were remanded in custody for three days on Saturday by a ‘court’ in the north, following their arrest on Friday 7.5 nautical miles away from Kormakitis.

According to reports in the north, the boat, owned by the Greek Cypriot company Ta Psarokaika, was stopped in an area between Akamas and Kormakitis on Friday. The crew were then arrested on the charge of entering the ‘national waters’ of the north.

A company spokesperson said the ship was in international waters between Akamas and Kormakitis. He said the captain of the ship informed them over the radio about the Turkish vessels before their arrest.

In a post on Facebook on Friday ‘foreign minister’ Kudret Ozersay said the Greek Cypriot media was reporting ‘fake news’ and that he visited the detained fishermen in Kyrenia and was informed about the situation by the ‘police’.

Ozersay said that the fishermen, Ahmed Farag Taha Elzahed, Sameh Sobheye Ali Moharam, Abdelraouf El Dayed Abdelrahman, Abdou İbrahim Eid İbrahim Elgendy and Amr Mahmoud Abdou Mohamed were being treated well.

The ship, he added, was taken to the port in Kyrenia.

The bicommunal committee on crime was informed by about the issue through the UN, who have undertaken the communication between the sides.

More information on the issue will be provided to the committee on Monday.

On Friday, the Cypriot government filed a report with the UN over the crew’s arrest and the seizure of their boat by the ‘authorities’ in the north.

Government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said the relevant authorities were working to release the individuals.

Last month, a ship from the same company was reportedly harassed by Turkish naval vessels, while it was fishing 16 nautical miles away from Apostolos Andreas in international waters.

The captain contacted me at 2am and I told him to leave the area and go 24 nautical miles (away from the Turkish coast), and stay in international waters,” Aristos Aristeidou, the company’s head, said.

He added that the Turkish ships approached the vessel again at 4am and threatened to tow them and arrest the crew if they did not leave.

The Turkish ships escorted the boat out of the area, and the vessel returned to the port of Limassol.

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