Pirate suspects caught in Spanish legal no-man's land
Seven suspected Somali pirates detained earlier this week by a Spanish navy ship were stuck in legal no-man's land Sunday after Madrid rejected a Spanish judge's order to release them.MADRID - Seven suspected Somali pirates detained earlier this week by a Spanish navy ship were stuck in legal no-man's land Sunday after Madrid rejected a Spanish judge's order to release them.
Spain's Defence Minister Carme Chacon announced Sunday that the Madrid government would "appeal," while Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said it was in contact with Kenyan authorities to hand the seven over to Nairobi.
National Court judge Fernando Andreu, who opened a preliminary investigation on Thursday, argued that sending the suspects to Kenya to be prosecuted would violate their rights since an inquiry was already underway in Spain.
Andreu had ordered the defence ministry Thursday to remand the seven suspects in custody and bring them to Spain so they could be questioned under a new piracy law adopted last year after a Spanish trawler and its crew were held hostage for six days by Somali pirates.
But public prosecutors said Friday the suspects should be taken to Kenya which signed an agreement with the European Union in March to take suspected pirates detained by EU navies patrolling Somalia's waters and prosecute them in Kenyan courts.
The group were captured in international waters in the Indian Ocean on Wednesday after their boat capsized when they were allegedly trying to board a Panamanian-flagged vessel.
The seven are currently stuck aboard the Marques de la Ensenada supply vessel, which also captured another seven suspects on Thursday as they appeared to be attempting to board a Maltese-flagged merchant ship.
AFP / Expatica