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Somali pirates on trial in Netherlands

Monday 18 May 2009

Five Somali men, arrested on suspicion of piracy in the Gulf of Aden, went on trial in the Netherlands on Monday.

The five are accused of attempting to hijack the freighter Samanyolu in the Gulf of Aden on January 2. The Samanyolu was sailing under the flag of the Dutch Antilles, the reason why they are being tried in Rotterdam.

The five were picked up by the Danish navy who handed them over to the Dutch authorities in February.

First hearing

During Monday's preliminary hearing, lawyer Willem Jan Ausma told the court the men had acted out of 'desperation and poverty'.

And Haroon Raza, representing a 31-year-old suspect, said the poor social, financial and political situation in the east African country was an important cause of piracy.

But Trouw quoted the public prosecutor Ward Ferdinandusse as stating not every Somalian picks up an automatic weapon and becomes a pirate. Sailors who find themselves the victims of pirates are threatened, shot at and taken captive, which can be extremely traumatic, he pointed out.

Happy in Holland

Earlier the NRC reported that the five men are pleased to be in the Netherlands. Ausma told the paper his clients feel they are in a safe environment.

Alleged pirate Yusuf (24) 'intends to send for his wife and children as soon as he is released from prison. He knows he cannot easily be sent back to Somalia. He loves it here in the Netherlands,' the NRC quoted Ausma as saying.

MPs have already called for the five to be deported as soon as they have served their sentence.

The main trial will take place this autumn, Trouw said.

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

He'll call for his wife and kids to be sent over... great.
Piracy will become the new escape route to Europe.
Become a pirate, get 2 years jail, then start a new life in Holland.

By steve | 18 May 2009 5:27 PM

The present on-going situation (which is reminiscent of the wild west without borders where horses have been replaced by power-boats and Smith & Weston by AK47s and cowboy-outlaws by sea-bandits in real-life swash-buckling Hollywood movie), concerning the gangs of pirates who operate in the ‘international shipping routes’ off the coast of Somalia is far from acceptable for international travel and marine business. Moreover there is a worrying and continuing trend by owners who pay huge ransoms for freeing the hijacked shipping vessels, which in turn encourages this type of organized crime to become a niche in the international business market.
15(+) shipping vessels have been hijacked, and the plight of the remaining shall continue unless they are Caucasian victims. Judging by the recent events, there is no consistency in policing and prosecuting the captured pirates who in real are 21st century bandits. The French and the Americans pursue and prosecute the captured pirates but the Dutch and Canadians have an opinion that if the victims are not Dutch or Portugese or Canadians than a crime has not been committed. This raises the question that do the Dutch and or Portugese and or Canadians believe that their own kind are relatively more important or valuable than other international citizens, and so no international crimes have been committed unless the victims are Dutch or Portugese or Canadians respectively ?
How many more International ships have to be hijacked before there is a common consensus (by the international community) on multi-lateral intervention actions, which should be taken against these criminal gangs of Somali Pirates who are operating free-style off the Somali coast ? Its a 'beggars belief’ question, what is the next symbolic or ceremonial role for UN and NATO and ICC in the present globalized business world so as to justify their own existence and sunk costs ?

By Small Brother | 18 May 2009 8:13 PM

Absolutely they should be sent straight back to Somalia!There is absolutely no way they should be allowed to stay, send for families... Get them out of here!

By bet | 19 May 2009 5:05 AM

There is an "important cause for piracy"? Ship Captain Crook and his gang back and allow only those who have not been involved in piracy, kidnapping and extortion.

By AW | 19 May 2009 7:51 AM

Needless to say, what goes round comes round. Do the Dutch and Portuguese and Canadians have an opinion that, if the victims are not Dutch or Portuguese or Canadians respectively, than a crime has not been committed. This raises a further question that, do the Dutch and or Portuguese and or Canadians believe that their own kind are relatively more important and or valuable than other international citizens, and so no international crimes have been committed unless the victims are Dutch or Portuguese or Canadians respectively ? Its inevitable that releasing of arrested criminal gangs of pirates operating off the coast of Somalia, with the mandate of free-style wanton maritime guidelines or for political reasons of appeasement at home-base, shall come home to haunt the same (and continue the recurring treats to the same shipping vessels), sooner or later.

By Small Brother | 24 May 2009 8:14 PM

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