(Xinhua) -- A
court of justice in Mauritius’ capital Port-Louis has set aside
charges of acts of piracy against 12 men from Somalia on
individuals were captured by joint European Naval Forces in
January 2013 after a commercial vessel, the MSC Jasmine with a
Panama flag stated it was attacked by gunmen off the coast of
The 12 accused were brought to Mauritius for trial, under an
agreement between the government of the Republic of Mauritius
and the European Union stating that pirates captured in the
Indian Ocean shall be tried in the island of Mauritius against a
fee of 3 million euros.
These 12 accused were the first to be tried but two
magistrates Azam Neerooa and Wendy Rangan said the accused did
not enjoyed their constitutional rights.
They were arrested and for many days not allowed to be in
contact with their relatives or their lawyers.
The court also said that even it was undisputed that gunshots
were fired against the MSC Jasmine, the prosecution could not
established whether it was the accused parties who had done that
as no arms were found with them.
The Director of Public Prosecutions has immediately lodged an
appeal against the court decision and asked that the appeal may
be heard as quickly as possible.
The 12 Somalis will therefore remain in custody pending the
determination of that appeal.
They had claimed at the start of the criminal proceedings
that they were only fishermen and had no connections with the
issue of piracy.
Twelve Somali pirate suspects charged in Mauritius
PORT LOUIS (Xinhua) --
Mauritius has put on trial 12
Somali pirates who were arrested early this year off the Horn of
The office of the public prosecutor said on Wednesday that
the 12 were accused of "engaging in acts of piracy in high seas"
in violation of the Mauritius’ 2011 maritime law.
The hearing of the case is expected to begin in September
During their first appearance in court, the Somalis denied
allegations that they were pirates, affirming that they were
just simple fishermen.
The 12 suspected pirates were arrested on Jan. 5 during an
operation by the U.S. marines, who were responding to a distress
call from a cargo ship being attacked in the Somali waters.
Twelve Somali pirate
suspects appear in Mauritius court
PORT-LOUIS (Xinhua) --
Twelve Somali pirates, who
were transported by air to Mauritius from Djibouti, appeared in
an intermediary Mauritius court on Saturday morning.
Under the piracy and maritime violence law, the suspected
pirates were charged with the crime of "engaging in piracy acts
in the sea."
The 12, who were aged between 20 to 45 years, arrived in
court under heavy police escort with hundreds of onlookers.
Their appearance in court was in conformity with the protocol
established under the auspices of the Anti-piracy Operation
Atalanta which is led by the European Union in the Indian Ocean,
especially along the Somali coastal waters.
During the arrival of the pirates on Friday evening, over 100
police officers were deployed around Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam
International Airport to provide security.
The pirates are expected to appear in court on Thursday next
week before Justice Prithviraj Fekna who will preside over their
Mauritius prison staff train by Interpol on how to handle
PORT-LOUIS (Xinhua) --
Members of the Mauritius
prison staff as well as some police officers are currently
undergoing training so that they are capable of handling the
Somali pirates who will be prosecuted and detained on the island
nation, a well placed source has said.
A three days workshop on the Somali culture and techniques
for handling Somali detainees, which was organized by Interpol,
with funding from the European Union (EU), is being held this
week in Mauritius’ biggest prison.
The workshop will discuss various themes which will include
introduction to maritime piracy, the historical context of
Somalia, piracy in Somalia, the Somali customs and norms and the
daily needs of the Somali detainees as well as the measures to
The Mauritius commissioner of prisons Jean Bruneau recalled
the program to fight against piracy by the UN Office on Drugs
and Crime (UNODOC) was put in place in May 2011 in Indian Ocean
countries that were asked to handle the issue of piracy.
On June 1, 2012, Mauritius officially joined the fight
against piracy, accepting to prosecute and detain pirates who
are arrested from that date.
"Until now, the Mauritius waters have not been violated
by the pirates.
"However, given the long distance that the pirates
operate within the Indian Ocean, Mauritius is forced to
avert any incursion by cooperating with other friendly
countries," he said.
In July 2011, Mauritius signed an agreement with the European
Union, defining the conditions and the modalities for the
transfer of suspected pirates for questioning, prosecution and
detention on the Mauritius island.
The agreement also provided for the transfer of seized
properties. In December 2011, the Mauritius Parliament adopted a
law on violence and maritime piracy.
Mauritius not to give asylum to maritime pirates: Prime
PORT-LOUIS (Xinhua) --
The Mauritian Prime Minister
(PM) Navin Ramgoolam has said his country does not intend to
give political asylum to suspected maritime pirates whose cases
will be heard in the island nation.
Ramgoolam also said on Tuesday that the specially constructed
prison was ready to receive 35 suspected pirates.
In July 2011, Mauritius concluded an agreement with the
European Union (EU) for the transfer of suspected pirates. The
agreement came into force on July 1, 2012.
The EU gave a sum of 3 million euros for the construction of
the necessary infrastructure to detain, prosecute and eventually
imprison the pirates.
Another agreement related to handling of pirates was also
signed between Mauritius and Britain on June 8, 2012.
The prime minister pointed out these agreements do not
obligate Mauritius to accept a request for transfer of the
"Each request will be examined on the merits of each case
by a high level committee.
"The decision to accept or reject the transfer will be
"The decision will take into account a number of factors
which include the geographical constraints, how convincing
the case is, the political considerations regarding our
capacity to keep pirates, the capacity of the courts to
prosecute pirates and the internal security," he explained.
The Mauritian PM said the prosecution is just a temporary
measure as the international community awaits the restoration of
law and order in Somalia.
"The recent political developments in Somalia with the
adoption of a new Constitution and the election of a new
president are the positive measures that will help to restore
peace and stability in Somalia," Ramgoolam added.