, MOMBASA, Oct 23 – Four Somali pirates were on Wednesday sentenced to seven years in jail for commandeering Kenyan fishing vessel MV Sherry off the Indian Ocean shores three years ago.
Mombasa Principal Magistrate Samuel Gacheru ruled that, “there is sufficient evidence to jail them,” and ordered that they be repatriated to Somalia upon completion of their sentence.
Noor Ali Mohammed, Abdirahman Isse Mohamud, Mohammed Osman Farah and Feisal Abdi Muse had plead “not true,” to the charge of piracy.
After being turned over to Kenyan authorities by Spanish naval forces in September of 20, 2010, the Director of Public Prosecutions charged them with committing the offence while armed, leading Gacheru to mete out a stiff penalty.
“The accused were armed with offensives weapons and attacked the fishing dhow using violent force; firing at the crew using AK-47 rifles and a pistol to gain control of the said dhow thus endangering the lives of the crew.”
The magistrate said he hoped the seven-year sentence would act as a deterrent to others who might be tempted to commit a similar crime.
The four now join a growing list of Somalis convicted and sentenced by Kenyan courts on counts of piracy.
Only three months ago nine others were sentenced to five years in jail, each, for attempting to hijack a German cargo ship in 2009.
They were Mohaamud, Mohammed Hashi alias Dhodi, Mohammed Ali Awa-Dahir, Mohammed Dogol Ali, Abdiwahid Mohammed Osman, Abduliani Omar, Abdirahman Mohammed Caser, Khadar Mohammed and Mohammed Cifer Ismail.
In their case as well, Mombasa Chief Magistrate Stephen Riech ruled that there was sufficient evidence to support conviction.
They had all denied the charges and claimed that they were fishing at the time of their arrest.
Kenya prosecuted its first piracy case in the year 2006 and has since had many more referred to its jurisdiction by international forces patrolling the international waters of the Indian Ocean.
Reports of piracy however drastically declined once Kenyan defence forces entered Somalia to wrench the war-torn nation from the grip of the Al Shabaab terror gang.