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Five pirates arrested by Siroco finally freed. 8 others kept in detention

The delivery of the five pirates to the Seychelles by the crew of the TCD Siroco. They are now free (credit: DICOD / French Ministry of Defense)

(B2) The Seychelles High Court ruled on Friday (December 9) on two different Somali pirate cases. This is the last ongoing case in terms of justice in Seychelles. Seychellois judges decided to release five pirates, arrested in the Gulf of Aden in early 2014. They, however, decided to uphold the convictions of eight other people arrested in November 2015.

Release of the five men arrested by Siroco

The five men had attacked, in January 2014, a dhow - the Shane Hind — in the Arabian Sea and having held the Indian crew hostage. They then used the dhow as a mother ship to attack a tanker Nave Atropos flying the flag of the Marshall Islands. When the alert was given, a Japanese patrol plane flew over the area to contain the pirates. At sea, it is the French navy ship, the TCD Siroco, which then housed the floating HQ of the European operation Atalanta, which had been on the attack to free the hostages and capture the pirates. They were then transferred to Seychelles on January 30, 2014 and then sentenced in June 2016 to 12 years in prison by the Court of Seychelles. Judge Anthony Fernando ruled that there was not enough evidence to keep the five people in prison. “ We quash the convictions and demand their immediate repatriation to Somalia » he indicated in his judgment according to the agency Seychelles News, which announces the information.

NB: Even if they were released today, the apprentice pirates will have spent almost three years in prison. Which on the scale of the convictions handed down by the different courts – and taking into account reduced sentences – is “average”. This release also comes at a time when maritime piracy of Somali origin has largely decreased and no longer represents the same risk as several years ago.

Retention in prison of the eight Somalis arrested by the Esbern Snare

In the second appeal brought by convicted Somalis accused of piracy, the Court of Appeal upheld 14-year sentences against eight pirates arrested in November 2013 and sentenced in June 2015. They were accused of attacking two ships: THE MV Zhongji No. 1, a chemical tanker flying the flag of Hong Kong, and the MV Torm Kansas, a Danish ship, aboard a skiff and a whaler, requisitioned for the occasion and serving as a mother ship. Their attack was stopped by the private guards of the Torm Kansas on November 6, 2013. And the nine pirates were arrested by the Danish navy ship, HDMS Esbern Snare, and transferred to the Seychelles. One of the pirates considered a minor had been released and repatriated to Somalia.


Go further, read also:

On the Shane Hind affair

On the Torm Kansas affair:

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).