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Posted by wmmbb in Human Rights.

Germany has not held a trial for piracy in 400 years, but now seven alleged Somalis are on trial for attacking the container ship MS Taipan.

The ten men are aged from 17 to 48. Deutsche Wella reports:

They are charged with attacking the ship some 900 kilometers (560 miles) east of the Somali coast in April.

The ship’s crew fled to a safety room, and the pirates were eventually captured by Dutch naval forces. The alleged pirates men were extradited to Germany in June. Since then, they have been in custody awaiting trial.

The defendants could get sentences of anywhere from 10 to 15 years in prison if found guilty.

Piracy is a growing problem off the coast of Somalia, with both the number of attacks and the ransoms demanded spiking over the past two years, the London-based International Maritime Bureau told AFP news service. Some 23 vessels and 500 crew are currently held by Somali pirates, the bureau said.

Those who were captured must consider themselves very unlucky. They probably were not expecting to be spending time in Europe. International trials are an interesting development, and an increasingly occurring. They raise questions about comparative justice in terms of procedural fairness. Do German courts have juries, or do a panel of judges make the decision. In the case of the alleged participant in the bombing of the American Embassy in Dar Es Salaam there was a jury, but they could not have been peers, in any sense.



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