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18 Burmese fishermen released from jail in India

Burmese fishermen exchange greetings with officials as they arrive home after spending two years in an Indian prison for trespassing. (PHOTO supplied to DVB)

Having served two-year sentences for illegally entering Indian territorial waters, 18 Burmese fishermen were released from prison on Sunday and allowed to return home.

The 18 were handed into Burmese custody at the embassy in New Delhi, before being transferred to their respective regions in Burma.

Twelve men are from Irrawaddy Region, four from Kawthaung, and two from Myeik.

“In January, 2015, the Thai fishing boat I was working for floated into Indian territorial waters due to engine failure,” said Thet Naing Oo, one of the jailed fishermen. “The Indian coastguard apprehended us and we were convicted for trespassing. In May 2017, we were transferred to an open camp where we waited out the last eight months of our sentences.”

Burma’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi is currently on an official visit to India. Today she met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi where the pair reportedly discussed key bilateral and regional issues.