The families of the 16 Tamil Nadu fishermen languishing in Iranian jail since December last received financial assistance of Rs.1 lakh each on Thursday as announced by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.

According to an official release, the cheques were handed over to the families residing in Nagapattinam, Ramanathapuram and Kanyakumari, by Ministers K.A. Jayapal, S. Sundararaj and K.T. Pachamal.

The fishermen, who were employed as contract labourers by a firm based in Saudi Arabia, were arrested by the Iranian authorities after they ventured into the country’s waters. Even after serving a six-month term, they continue to remain in prison for want of money to pay the fine of $5,750 each. Ms. Jayalalithaa has written to the Prime Minister seeking his intervention in securing their release.

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