MARCH 19, 2015 — The Seychelles Supreme Court has found nine Somalis, including one minor, guilty on three different counts of piracy.
The nine pirates were handed over to the Seychelles authorities on November 30, 2013 by Danish Navy ship, HDMS Esbern Snare. Subsequently they received $3,339 apiece from Denmark for 13 days they were held on Esbern Snare prior to a hearing in Copenhagen at which they testified by videolink. The Danish High Court found that breached their right, under Danish law to be brought before a judge within 24 hours (see earlier story).
In the Seychelles, the nine men were charged with committing an act of piracy on the high seas against a Hong-Kong flagged vessel M/V Zhongji No. 1 on November 6, 2013 and against a Danish Ship M/V Torm Kansas on November 9, 2013 as well as for making use of a whaler as a pirate ship.
The Seychelles News Agency reports that,delivering his judgment last Friday, Seychelles Supreme Court Judge Mohan Niranjit Burhan rejected the defense's argument that the nine accused were merely fishermen.
"…there was no fishing equipment or deep freeze on board the whaler to indicate that the accused were genuine fishermen," said Judge Burhan.
The judge also rejected the accused's claims that they had been detained and tried by the state of Denmark for an act of piracy against the Danish vessel.
Several of the defendants had claimed to be minors, but forensic analysis indicated this was true of only one of them.
Judge Burhan sentenced the eight adults to 14 years in prison each on all three counts while the juvenile was given a three-year sentence on each count of piracy. Burhan ruled that the sentences would run concurrently and that the time they had already spent in detention would be deducted from their sentences.
Royal Danish Navy