, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 10 – Kenya on Wednesday sentenced eight Somali men to 20 years imprisonment each, after a Mombasa court found them guilty of piracy.
They were accused of attempting to hijack the MV Powerful on November 11, 2008 putting in fear the lives of the crew while armed with weapons.
While handing out her judgement, Senior Principal Magistrate Lillian Mutende said the offence of piracy was serious and carried a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
“I have considered the mitigation of both the prosecution and the defence counsel. The offence of piracy is serious and carries a life imprisonment but because they are young and family men, I sentence each of them to 20 years imprisonment,” said Ms Mutende.
However, defence counsel Jared Magolo said he would appeal against the judgment arguing that the magistrate made an error.
“I will file an appeal against the judgement and I am confident that the high court will correct the errors,” said Mr Magolo.
Ms Mutende\’s judgement thwarted the defence’s plea to have the accused sentenced to a non-custodial sentence.
Mr Magolo had told the court that the two years his clients were in custody was sufficient enough and it would be better if the court granted them a non-custodial sentence.
He went ahead and thrilled the packed courtroom, saying a custodial sentence would be an unnecessary burden to the taxpayers.
“They have been in custody for a period of two years in very difficult circumstances in a foreign country. Having them in custody would be a burden to the taxpayers,” said Mr Magolo.
He had also mitigated that the pirates were already rehabilitated and they should not be in custody anymore arguing that the major purpose of a custodial sentence had been achieved.
“They are remorseful and have reformed. They have also promised to make positive changes to the society,” he added.
The suspects are Aid Mohamed Ahmed, Abdinasir Mohamed Said, Amin Osman Said, Ahmed Mohamed Omar, Feysal Ahmed Farah, Yusuf Said Yusuf, Hussein Mohamud Ismail and Abdi Hamud Kassim.