'Somali pirates' held by Dutch freed
A band of suspected Somali pirates captured by the Dutch navy after a failed attack on a cargo ship are to be freed after no country would agree to prosecute them, Dutch officials said Thursday.The Hague--"The European Union has decided... that the (Dutch warship that captured the pirates) Evertsen must let the 13 Somali pirates go," the Dutch defence ministry said in a statement.
"The European Union has tried in vain since their arrest to find a country which would agree to prosecute them," the statement added.
The suspected pirates, seized by Dutch naval officers in the Indian Ocean at the start of the month after allegedly attacking a cargo ship, would leave shortly aboard their own speed boat, a defence ministry spokeswoman said.
"The defence ministry regrets that the European Union has not found a suitable solution," the statement said.
Defence officials added the EU had signed agreements with the Seychelles and Kenya to help press charges against suspected pirates captured in the region but "the two countries indicated they did not want to prosecute the pirates."
Until Sunday, the Netherlands was in command of the EU's Atalanta anti-piracy mission. They recently extended their participation in the mission until June 2010.
Many countries have faced problems in getting pirate suspects captured by their navies prosecuted. It is difficult to hand them over to countries close to where they are seized due to a lack of legal arrangements.