Dutch courts hands Somali pirates 5 years

June 17, 2010 12:00 am

, ROTTERDAM, Jun 17 – A Dutch court on Thursday sentenced five Somali pirates, the first to stand trial in Europe, to five years in prison for attacking a Dutch Antilles-flagged ship in 2009.

"The court sentences the defendants to a prison sentence of five years," said court president Jan Willem Klein Wolterink.

"The defendants went to the sea with the aim of hijacking a boat," he said, adding that it was only luck that nobody was hurt.

As he was sentenced, one of the pirates, Sayid Ala Garaar, 39, shouted from the dock.

"The Netherlands does not like Muslims… we know that…. it\’s not legal," he said.

The five men aged between 25 and 45 each pleaded not guilty on the first day of their trial in Rotterdam in the west of the Netherlands on May 25.

They told the court they were simple fishermen who were attacked as they sought help from the Turkish-owned ship, the Samanyolu, after developing engine trouble and running out of food and water at sea.

But prosecutors said they were arrested after attacking the ship with automatic weapons and rockets on January 2, 2009.

Out of 409 attacks worldwide in 2009, 215 were carried out by Somali pirates off the Somalia coast, according the International Maritime Bureau.

Some 110 pirates have already been tried in Kenya.

Six Somali pirates were condemned to death in Yemen in May for an attempted hijacking of a Yemeni oil tanker during which two people died.


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