The Seychelles Supreme Court has convicted nine Somali nationals of committing acts of piracy who were previously released and paid compensation by Denmark over a delay in being presented before a judge after their capture.
The nine Somalis, including one minor, were found guilty of three different counts of piracy stemming from two seperate attacks on a Hong Kong-flagged chemical tanker and the Danish ship MV Torm Kansas off the coast of Somalia in November 2013. Following the attacks, the suspected pirates were captured aboard their mothership by a Danish Navy ship and brought to Seychelles for prosecution.
According to the Seychelles News Agency, a judge rejected the defenses argument that the nine accused were just fishermen. The judge also rejected the claims that suspects had been detained and tried by the state of Denmark for piracy against the Torm Kansas, for which they were released and promised compensation.
As gCaptain reported last December, Denmark ruled to compensate nine Somalis suspected of trying to hijack the Torm Kansas because they were detained too long before being brought before a judge. The men eventually appeared before a judge via a video link while aboard the Danish Navy ship Esben Snarre 13 days after their capture. The judge found them not guilty of piracy.
According to Danish law, a citizen cannot be held in custody for more than 24 hours without being brought before a judge. The compensation, reported to be about US $3,247 each, was unrelated to the suspects’ innocence.
The Seychelles Supreme Court however found the Somalis guilty and sentenced the eight adults to 14 years in prison on all three counts. The juvenile was given a three-year sentence on each count of piracy, the Seychelles News Agency reported.