Kenya Convicts Seven Somali Pirates for Attempted Hijacking of Cargo Ship
A Kenyan judge sentenced seven Somalis to five years in jail yesterday for attempting to hijack a cargo vessel last year, the European Union’s anti-piracy mission known as EU Navfor said.
The group was detained on May 7, 2009, by the Spanish navy after officers fired warning shots from a helicopter during an attack on the Maltese-registered merchant ship Anny Petrakis, EU Navfor said today in an e-mailed statement. The Somalis were handed over to Kenya and were tried in Mombasa, it said.
International navies have been patrolling waters off the coast of Somalia and the Gulf of Aden since last year to stop pirates from hijacking vessels along one of the world’s busiest shipping routes. Suspects are often turned over at the ports of coastal nations, including Kenya, willing to put them on trial.
Kenya has signed agreements with the European Union, the U.K., the U.S. and Denmark, pledging to detain and try piracy suspects arrested by their navies in exchange for support for its judicial system.
EU Navfor said it has so far handed over 75 suspected pirates to the Kenyan authorities for prosecution.
Seven Somali men were convicted of piracy and given five- year jail sentences by a Kenyan court in Mombasa earlier this month, EU Navfor said.
Pirate attacks around Somalia rose to a record in 2009, prompting international forces to boost patrols of the region.
Somalia hasn’t had a functioning central administration since the ouster of former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991. Most of southern and central Somalia is under the control of rebel fighters, while the Western-backed government holds only portions of Mogadishu. Surrounding waters have the most piracy in the world, according to the International Maritime Bureau.
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