Longer Sentences for Pirates

Spain’s Supreme Court on Monday lengthened by five years the sentences of six Somalis jailed for attempting to hijack a Spanish navy vessel that was taking part in EU anti-piracy operations

Spanish court lengthens jail sentence for six Somali pirates

Spain’s Supreme Court on Monday lengthened by five years the sentences of six Somalis jailed for attempting to hijack a Spanish navy vessel that was taking part in EU anti-piracy operations.

Judges found in favour of the prosecution, who had argued on appeal that the Somalis’ actions in January 2012 constituted an attack on the ship, not merely an attempted attack.

With the new classification, the prison sentences for the six now range from 13 to 17 years.

The Somalis had denied attacking the MS Patino at their trial in October.

They said they were only fishermen who had approached the navy vessel in their skiff because they had lost their way, were hungry and needed help.

The Spaniards then opened fire without warning, the Somalis said.

But the court agreed with the ship’s captain, who said the Somalis initiated the exchange of fire. It ruled that the men were armed with weapons of war and intended to take control of the Spanish ship in order to seek a ransom.

One Somali was killed and three were wounded in the incident. The Patino pursued the Somalis and captured them.

The Patino was on patrol as part of an European Union force protecting the waters off the Horn of Africa from pirates.

It was the first guilty verdict in Spain on piracy-related charges.

Source: DPA

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