Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Sunday came to the rescue of 16 fishermen from Kanyakumari, Ramanathapuram and Nagapattinam districts, who have been languishing in an Iranian prison for the past six months. Writing to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Jayalalithaa said it was shocking to know that the fishermen were unable to contact the Indian Embassy, which on its part made no efforts to provide them with legal assistance.
The fishermen, who were engaged as contract labourers by a private company in Saudi Arabia, strayed into Iranian waters during the course of their work. They were arrested by authorities there in December, 2012, and were tried and convicted to undergo six months imprisonment and pay a fine of $5,750 each.
Requesting the PM to instruct the Embassy in Teheran to take effective steps to secure the release of the fishermen, the CM pointed out that they had already served their sentence but continued to languish in jail as they were unable to raise the fine amount.