Spain negotiating with Somalia over pirates: reports
Spanish media reports the government is looking to transfer the two suspected pirates to Somali and have them stand trial there.Madrid – The Spanish government is negotiating with Somali authorities over the possible transfer of two suspected pirates held in Spain, Spanish media said Tuesday.
The two were captured and brought to Spain over their alleged role in the seizure of Spanish tuna trawler, the Alakrana, and its 36 crew members on 2 October.
The kidnappers of the Alakrana are demanding the release of the two suspects as well as USD four million dollars (EUR 2.6 million) in ransom.
The crew's families have appealed to Spain's government to negotiate with the kidnappers, who have threatened to kill the hostages.
"The government is working intensively to reach a deal with Somalia to allow the handing over of the two pirates held in Spain," the daily El Pais said, quoting government sources.
The ABC newspaper said Spain "is looking for a deal with the transitional government in Somalia to provide legal coverage for the national court during an eventual extradition" of the suspected pirates.
It said Madrid wanted Somali authorities to guarantee that the two would be put on trial.
The lawyer for one of them, Francisco Javier Diez Aparicio, told Spanish National Radio Tuesday that he would ask the court to order the expulsion of his client, Abdu Willy, to Somalia.
National court judge Baltasar Garzon, who ordered the two transferred to Spain, said "legal channels" existed to resolve the crisis without "giving in to pressure" from the pirates.
The Spanish government has previously ruled out handing over the pirates. But crew members have told Spanish media that the conditions under which they are being held are deteriorating.
Spanish troops monitoring the area off the Somali coast seized the two suspects shortly after they left the Alakrana on a small boat.
Among the 36 crew being held are 16 Spaniards, eight Indonesians as well as others from Ghana, the Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Senegal and the Seychelles.
AFP / Expatica