Spain jails Somali pirates for 439 years

May 3, 2011 12:00 am

, MADRID, May 3 – A court in Spain on Tuesday sentenced two Somali men to jail terms of 439 years each for their role in the hijacking of a Spanish fishing trawler and its crew in October 2009.

The two, Abdou Willy and Raagegeesey Adji Hamanwere, were detained by Spanish marines as they left the captured trawler two days after the hijacking off the coast of Somalia and flown to Spain where they have been held in a Madrid jail.

Spain\’s National Court found them guilty of 36 counts of illegal detention and robbery with violence but absolved them of the charges of terrorism, membership in an organised crime group and torture.

Under Spanish law, the two will serve a maximum of 30 years in jail, regardless of the total sentence handed down by the court.

Public prosecutors had asked that the two be slapped with sentences of 438 years behind bars.

The court also ordered each of them to pay 100,000 euros to each of those detained.

During their trial, Willy and Hamanwere had said that they had been fishing in the area and were themselves seized by the pirates who them hijacked the Spanish fishing trawler.

The 36-member crew of the Alakrana, which included 16 Spanish nationals, spent 47 days in captivity before they were released.

The pirates who seized the boat said they received a ransom of $4.0 million (2.7 million euros). The Spanish government has refused to either confirm or deny their claim.

But the National Court said on Monday it "was not the boat\’s owners but public organisations linked to the Spanish government who paid the amount for the release of the crew and the fishing boat."

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