Six Somalis go on trial in Spain

Six Somalis who allegedly attacked a Spanish navy vessel in 2012 went on trial Monday at the National Court. The six denied charges of piracy and said they were fishermen.

Six Somalis go on trial in Spain for piracy

Madrid (dpa) – Six Somalis who allegedly attacked a Spanish navy vessel in 2012 went on trial Monday at the National Court.

The six denied charges of piracy and said they were fishermen.

They are charged with attacking MS Patino, which was participating in the European Union’s anti-piracy Operation Atalanta in the Indian Ocean in January 2012.

They said their skiff approached the Spanish warship for help, because they had lost their way and were hungry.

The Spaniards then opened fire without warning, the Somalis told the court. But the captain of the Patino, who appeared as a witness, accused the Somalis of initiating the exchange of fire.

One Somali was killed and three injured.

The Spanish warship then pursued the Somalis and captured them.

Prosecutors are seeking 23-year prison sentences for Hamou Elfaf Mahou, Mohamed Absullah Hassan, Issa Absullah Issa, Mohamed Said Ahmed, Abdillah Mohamed Gouled and Mohamed Aden Mohamed.

The trial was expected to conclude this week.

Trials against suspected Somali pirates have been held in Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, the United States and Yemen.

In 2011, Spain’s National Court sentenced two Somalis to more than 400 years in prison each for hijacking the fishing boat Alakrana in 2009.

However, pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden have dropped recently.

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB), which has a monitoring centre in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, said only eight piracy attacks, including two hijackings, were reported in the area in the first six months of 2013.

Source: DPA.

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