Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Homegrown Jihadists: France Sets Out Plan to Monitor Web and Support Families

Read more

WEB NEWS

Ukrainians turn Russian 'evidence' into meme

Read more

FOCUS

Copenhagen seeks to decriminalise use of cannabis

Read more

FACE-OFF

French president's advisor resigns: A new blow for François Hollande

Read more

ENCORE!

Films as plays, plays as films and TV at the cinema

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Syria: Former hostages recount 10-month ordeal

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

José Bové, Candidate for the EU Commission presidency, Group of the Greens

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Alexis Tsipras, Candidate for the EU Commission presidency, European Left Party

Read more

FOCUS

'Pope-mania' hits John Paul II's Polish hometown

Read more

  • Fatah, Hamas agree to form Palestinian unity government

    Read more

  • New far-right mayor moves to quash Paris region mosque

    Read more

  • Gay marriage, one year on: ‘French civilisation did not crumble’

    Read more

  • Turkish PM offers condolences to descendants of Armenians killed in 1915

    Read more

  • Colombian president reinstates firebrand Bogota mayor

    Read more

  • NYPD public relations campaign on Twitter goes awry

    Read more

  • Russia vows to respond if 'attacked' in Ukraine

    Read more

  • In pictures: Violent protests erupt in Rio

    Read more

  • French hostage Gilberto Rodrigues Leal has died, Islamists say

    Read more

  • 'Pope-mania' hits John Paul II's Polish hometown

    Read more

  • French actress Catherine Deneuve to sell €4 million château

    Read more

  • Chelsea, Atletico draw 0-0 in first leg of Champions League semis

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch offensive in the east after politican 'tortured'

    Read more

  • Echoes of 2pac and Biggie? French rap feud turns violent

    Read more

  • New French film tackles grisly anti-Semitic murder

    Read more

  • Photos link ‘little green men’ in Ukraine to Russian troops

    Read more

  • New anti-radicalisation plans aimed at fighting jihadism

    Read more

France

Somalis tried in Paris over luxury yacht crew hijack

©

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-05-22

Six Somalis went on trial in Paris Tuesday charged with taking the crew of sailing boat Le Ponant hostage in the Gulf of Aden in 2008. The six men were arrested in a French operation and face life in prison if convicted of kidnapping and theft.

REUTERS - Six Somali pirates went on trial in Paris on Tuesday charged with hijacking a French yacht in 2008, the second case of its kind to be brought before a French court in a bid to tackle the problem of piracy in the waters off the Horn of Africa.

The men, aged 25 to 50, are accused of hijacking an 88-metre luxury yacht, the “Ponant”, in the Gulf of Aden in April 2008, and holding 30 members of its crew hostage in exchange for a ransom of 2.15 million euros ($2.75 million).

Five of the six pirates say they are innocent and played no direct role in the assault, while a sixth pleaded guilty and apologised to the crew, their families and the French nation.

All six men, who listed their professions as taxi-driver, truck driver, accountant and fisherman, face France’s toughest jail sentence for kidnapping and hostage-taking. If sentenced to the maximum penalty, they would only be eligible for parole after 18 years of incarceration.

The trial, the second of four to be held in France, is part of an effort to bring more Somali pirates to justice and fight back against piracy which has made the waters off the Horn of Africa some of the world’s most dangerous.

In the first trial last November, a Paris court sentenced five Somalis to four to eight years in jail for hijacking the yacht “Carre d’As”. A sixth was acquitted.

A state-appointed prosecutor deemed the sentences too lenient and appealed the verdict, opening the way for a second trial. Two further trials are due, concerning a total of ten Somali men accused of hijacking two French ships.

While the number of pirate attacks has fallen in the past year, partly due to concerted action by navies, piracy remains a serious threat to crewmembers navigating along vital shipping lanes in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean.

In the case brought to trial on Tuesday, the pirates released the hostages after receiving the ransom money from the yacht’s owners, the Marseille-based Compagnie du Ponant.

They were subsequently captured by French commandos just a week later while travelling in a car on the Somali mainland. Only 118,000 euros of the ransom payment was recovered.

The fight to keep shipping lanes open pits Western navies with state-of-the-art equipment against Somali pirates wielding Kalashnikov assault rifles and rocket launchers, lured to sea by the prospect of tens of millions of dollars in ransom.

With more than 100 crewmembers currently being held aboard hijacked ships off the eastern coast of Africa, the European Union has stepped up its anti-piracy efforts, launching pre-emptive attacks on pirates at sea and on land.

 

Date created : 2012-05-22

  • IRAN

    US Navy rescues Iranian hostages from 'Somali pirates'

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    French court sentences five Somali pirates

    Read more

  • France

    France tries six Somali 'pirates' in landmark case

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)