A court in Sri Lanka today ordered the release of 16 Tamil Nadu fishermen arrested by the island nation's navy recently for crossing its territorial waters, a fishermen association leader said in Rameswaram which is 559 km from Chennai.
According to State fishermen association president, N Devadoss, the judge imposed certain conditions including one that if the released fishermen were found and caught by the Lankan navy in their territory again within five years they would be detained in prison for one to two years.
They would be brought back after all the formalities were completed, he added.
Regarding the release of three boats of the fishermen, he said the owners have been directed to appear in court on July 28 with relevant documents adding if they failed to do so the boats would be nationalised.
The 16 fishermen were arrested by the Lankan Navy on separate occasions on July 5 and July 8 on charges of crossing the international maritime boundary line (IMBL) and poaching in the island nation's waters.
Twelve fishermen were from Rameswaram and the rest from nearby Mandapam.