Spain to try two suspected Somali pirates

16th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

Two Somali men suspected of taking part in the hijacking of a Spanish tuna trawler with its crew of 36 last year will be put on trial in a Madrid court next month, a court official said Thursday.

The National Court, Spain's top criminal court, will try Abdou Willy and Raagegeesey Adji Haman between January 31 and February 4, the official said.

Spanish marines detained the two men as they left the captured trawler two days after the hijacking. They were then flown to Spain where they have been held at a Madrid jail.

Pirates seized the Alakrana tuna trawler on October 2, 2009 off the coast of Somalia. The boat and its crew were released 47 days later.

The pirates said they received a ransom of four million dollars but the Spanish government has refused to either confirm or deny their claim.

Spanish public prosecutors have said they would seek prison sentences of up to 220 years for the two Somalis.

There had been doubts over whether Abdou Willy was old enough to stand trial but government-ordered medical tests indicated he was more than 18 years old.

Spain's National Court argues it is competent to try the two because the alleged crimes took place on board a Spanish vessel.

© 2010 AFP

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