Medeshi May 10, 2009
Somaliland court jails 14 for piracy
MOGADISHU (AFP) — A court in the republic of Somaliland on Sunday sentenced 14 people to between 15 and 20 years in jail for piracy.
The suspects had been arrested by the Somaliland coastguards near the port of Berbera. Three of them were sentenced in absentia after dodging arrest last week.
"After we listened to the charges against the defendants and the evidence brought against them, the court finds them guilty," judge Osman Ibrahim Dahir said.
Nine of the suspects were each handed 15-year jail terms, while another two plus those who escaped detention were given 20 years.
Authorities in Somaliland have so far this year jailed 62 pirates as attacks on ships off the lawless Somali coast soar.
In the first quarter of 2009, 102 piracy incidents were reported to the International Maritime Bureau, nearly double the number during the same period in 2008.
Foreign naval ships, including from NATO and the European Union, have however thwarted several hijacking attempts and also made dozens of arrests.
Edited by medeshi