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Seychelles to prosecute four Somali pirates captured by Denmark

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

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COPENHAGEN, DENMARK (BNO NEWS) -- Authorities in the tiny African nation of Seychelles have agreed to prosecute four Somali pirates who were captured by the Danish Navy last month after they seized an Iranian ship, Denmark's foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

Danish Foreign Minister Villy Søvndal said Seychelles agreed to prosecute four of the sixteen Somali pirates being held on board the Danish Navy warship Absalon. "I am very pleased that Denmark has managed to put sixteen more pirates out of the game," he said. "And now, with the help of Seychelles, we managed to ensure four of them from the hard core will be prosecuted."

The four Somali pirates were transferred to Seychelles authorities on Monday after the agreement had been reached, and the remaining twelve pirates remain in custody at the warship Absalon. Denmark said it is still attempting to find another country which is willing to prosecute the other pirates. If no country is found, Denmark will be forced to release the suspects.

"It is the second time that Seychelles has agreed to accept pirates which were detained by Denmark," Søvndal noted. "I am very pleased and grateful that a small country like Seychelles assumes so much responsibility for combating piracy in the region. Although disarming and detering pirates and free hostages is in itself a huge achievement, we also work continuously to bring legal action against the pirates. It is not possible in all cases - including because the evidence is not always there - but it succeeded this time."

The group of Somali pirates were arrested without incident on April 11 after the Danish Navy warship Absalon came across a pirate mother ship in the Horn of Africa off the coast of Somalia. The pirate mother ship was carrying sixteen Somali pirates and their twelve hostages, of whom nine were from Pakistan and three are from Iran. They had been held hostage for about a month.

In February, a similar operation carried out by Absalon resulted in the deaths of two hostages while several others were rescued. But with none of the nearby countries willing to prosecute the pirates, the seventeen suspects involved in the incident were released earlier in April.

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