The Sudanese Minister of Justice has put the Egyptian fishermen’s trial on hold. This means that “negotiations between Egypt and Sudan are running”, the leader of the independent Matariya Fishermen Association in Daqahleya Taha El-Sherdeny said on Friday.
El-Sherdeny added the trial “was not cancelled”, but that during the trial, the Sudanese Minister of Justice asked to look into the files of the case.
This possibly means negotiations between Egypt and Sudan may be useful but “everything is in the hands of the Sudanese Minister of Justice”, El-Sherdeny said.
He added that 101 fishermen are still detained in Sudan. “The families of these fishermen are very worried, but they’re still waiting to see what Egypt will do,” he said.
Al-Sherdeny added that they have considered the possibility of protesting in front of the Sudanese embassy in Cairo.
Sudanese authorities had detained three fishing boats, carrying 108 people from Egypt’s Daqahleya governorate earlier in April. The 46 fishermen on board the first boat, “Princess Mariam”, were sentenced to a month in prison and a fine of EGP 5,000 each.
Meanwhile, six children and a senior were transferred back to Egypt via the Sudanese embassy.
El-Sheridy previously told Daily News Egypt that “what happened is that the fishermen were on their way to Eritrea, legitimately using the waterway, when Sudanese coastal authorities attacked them and fired at their boats, dragging them to forbidden water zones then arresting them.”
Sudanese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Aly Sadek previously told Egyptian State Media the issue of the detained Egyptian fishermen will soon be resolved, adding that “those incidents occur frequently, yet it does not harm our ties with Egypt.”
Foreign authorities, including Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen often detain Egyptian fishermen. While the Egyptian government claims that the fishermen commit violations, the foreign ministry usually succeeds in negotiating their release.
In response to the most recent arrest, the Egyptian embassy in Sudan called on the Egyptian fishermen to abide by marine regulations and to acquire permission before fishing inside territorial water.