Somalia: Alleged Somali pirates detained without a fair trial 11 Apr 11, 2012 - 3:19:52 AM
BOSSASO, Somalia Apr 10 2012 (Garowe Online) – A government official has reported of delays in trials and promised extradition against Somali pirates detained in Kenya and Maldives, Radio Garowe reports.
Abdirazak Mohamed Dirir Director of the Counter Piracy Directorate in the Ministry of Ports and Marines who spoke to local media in Bossaso said that 9 alleged Somali pirates being held have been detained since March 2009 without a trial in Mombasa, Kenya .
The 9 alleged pirates were given a preliminary hearing shortly after they were captured by NATO. The 9 men thought they were being sent back to Somalia to be tried there but due to judges being absent at trial dates they have never been past the preliminary hearing. The panel of judges sent the pirates back because not all of 5 judges had been present to proceed on the case. Six times they were brought in front of the partly filled seats of the panel of judges and each time told they were rescheduled for another trial.
Another trial is set for May 3 2012 but Mr. Dirir explains that, “not one official from the Transitional Federal Government has visited or even advocated for those men being held without a fair trial in Mombasa or the Maldives.”
At least 37 alleged pirates are being held in the Maldives. The Maldives government with the mediation of UNODC signed an agreement to extradite the men to Puntland in May 2011 but the men remain captive in the Maldives without trial because the Maldives government does not have a law against piracy and therefore cannot try the men in court. But officials say that the men have not been extradited because TFG officials are not concerned with the 37 men being held in Maldives or the 9 men being held in Mombasa nor the others being held in Maritus.
Finally Mr. Dirir said that, “the families of the men being held captive in prisons without a fair trial need to raise this issue to their Ministers and MPs in the TFG so something could be done about the dire situation these men are in.”
Similarly there have been increasing reports of fishermen being mistaken for pirates by foreign vessels patrolling Somali waters.