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The 12 pirates tried in Mauritius acquitted

(BRUSSELS2) Mauritius is definitely not the paradise sought by Europeans for prosecutions against pirates. After the annulment of the agreement signed by the EU with Mauritius by the Court of Justice (1), it is now the “intermediate court” of Mauritius which acquitted the twelve Somali pirates this Thursday (6 November), tried on the island.

The “pirates”, aged between 20 and 45, were suspected of having attacked the MSC Jasmine off Somali waters. According to our Mauritian colleague Express, magistrate Wendy Rangan said thatthere was not enough evidence against them ". They were not found on the attacked ship but offshore. But no weapons were found on their boat. And the suspects believe they are “simple fishermen” although very little fishing equipment was found on board. Questions have “ also raised as to the legality of the detention of the pirates after their arrest ».

In fact, almost 20 days passed between their arrest and the transfer to Mauritius. And the conditions of their arrest are, according to our “piracy” database rather 'country'... These pirates had, in fact, been stopped by an American frigate at the beginning of January 2013 but officially arrested by the French soldiers of Surcouf (2), who participated in the EUNAVFOR Atalanta operation. A preferred solution in situ to encourage the pursuit of pirates (4). The Europeans have a legal framework that the Americans did not have. They were then transferred to a plane chartered by Atalanta (3).

The various elements of facts and evidence had been transmitted by French and European officers to the Mauritian authorities. A Somali interpreter having arrived from the Seychelles to assist and translate the defendants during the trial. The testimonies of the European and American soldiers are then collected by video-conference.

The prosecution should, however, appeal this judgment ". And the Somalis remain, for the moment, in detention at Melrose prison (renovated with European funds).

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

Lire aussi

  1. Canceled pirate transfer agreement
  2. A group of pirates foiled near the Somali coast. 12 suspects arrested
  3. Twelve pirates transferred to Mauritius (Update)
  4. The 12 pirates arrested by Surcouf delivered to Mauritius?

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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