Seychelles Sentence 11 Somali Pirates to a Decade in Prison.
Seychelles has sentenced 11 Somali pirates to a ten year jail term sentence each for attempting to hijack a coast guard patrol boat Topaz in December 2009. ‘The ruling by the Supreme Court in Victoria, the first of its kind in the Indian Ocean archipelago, was delivered on Monday’ said Andrew Mwangura, the East Africa Coordinator of Seafarers Assistance Program (SAP).
According to a statement issued by Seychelles Department of Legal Affairs, eight of the pirates sentenced were convicted of piracy, while three others were convicted of aiding and abetting piracy, for trying to hijack the patrol boat. Four of them were less than 18 years old. “Their conviction is a historical milestone as it is the first time that a piracy trial is successfully prosecuted in the Seychelles,” said the statement.
“These convictions will serve as a deterrent for prospective Somali pirates who would otherwise have thought they would have come into Seychelles waters with impunity,” the Department of Legal Affairs said. The only two nations that agreed to take pirates are only Kenya and the Seychelles but both nations have recently complained about the burden of trying and jailing pirates in their countries.
Kenya has memoranda of understanding with EU, United States, Canada, Denmark, China and Britain whereby it takes in suspects intercepted at sea and prosecutes them in courts in Mombasa.
The agreements allowing foreign naval powers to hand over suspects to Kenya instead of taking them back home for prosecution. Ransom hunting pirates have continued to cause havoc at the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean despite the presence of NATO, EU, Russia, China, South Korea and India naval forces in the region to protect cargo and cruise ships against piracy.
News Report By Abdulaziz Billow
Abdulaziz Billow is AfrobeatRadio’s correspondent for East Africa.