Alleged Somali pirate sues German government
Thursday, April 16, 2009
A suspected Somali pirate has filed a lawsuit against Germany for his alleged inhumane treatment since he was handed over to Kenya. He says Germany must have known of the unsatisfactory prison conditions in Kenya.Ali Mohamed A.D. was captured by the German navy patrolling the Gulf of Aden last month when he allegedly tried to seize a freighter, the MV Courier. He was transferred to Kenya along with eight other Somali suspects for prosecution in the port city of Mombasa under an EU agreement with Kenya.
His lawyer, Oliver Wallasch, said his client, who denies involvement in piracy, was seeking 10,000 euros ($13,300) from the German government before the Berlin regional court for damages incurred after his "unlawful" transfer to Kenya. The lawsuit contends that the interior, defense, justice and foreign ministries must have been aware that a suspect would likely have no access to medical treatment, sanitary facilities or privacy in a Kenyan jail.
According to Wallasch's application to the court, as quoted by the website of German newspaper Bild, "The plaintiff finds himself in a cell designed for four men. However, he shares the cell with nine others." It said there was no privacy, and no account was taken of Muslim dietary restrictions. "Vegetarian food is only available for medical reasons, so that the plaintiff is forced to eat pork if he is not to starve."
The German foreign ministry denied that Germany took no account of the human rights of alleged pirates. A spokesman said the government checked that standards were maintained.
Meanwhile a second suspect, Mohamud Mohamed H., has filed an injunction with the Berlin administrative court aiming to force the German foreign ministry to cover the costs of a public defender in Kenya. His lawyer, Andreas Schulz, said his trial was to begin in Mombasa on April 22 and he currently has no defense attorney there.
Wallasch said another three suspected pirates had hired German lawyers.
Kenya and the EU have signed an agreement under which suspected Somali pirates who are detained in the course of the EU anti-piracy naval mission off the Somali coast are transferred to Kenya. A German ship, the Hansa Stavanger, is currently one of at least 18 ships held by Somali pirates. The German navy has contributed four ships to the EU fleet