• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Hamburg court jails ten Somali pirates

The Local · 19 Oct 2012, 16:17

Published: 19 Oct 2012 16:17 GMT+02:00

Trying the Somalis, aged between 19 and 50, had been a mammoth task for Hamburg’s justice authorities, involving 105 days in court, a flood of evidence and statements, and countless translations.

On Friday, the court handed down sentences of between six and seven years for the seven adults, and two years of youth detention for the three men charged as juveniles.

The armed men stormed the Taipan on April 5, 2010 and hijacked the 140-metre long container ship belonging to the Hamburg shipping firm Komrowksi.

The Taipan's 15-member crew managed to evade capture by the pirates by taking refuge in a so-called "panic room" hidden within the ship.

But the pirates did not keep control for long – a Dutch frigate came to the rescue, and after a short gunfight, the pirates were arrested. Their five machine guns and two rocket launchers were confiscated.

The Taipan, which was travelling under a German flag, was en route from Haifa to Mombasa and was around 980 kilometres from the Somali coast when the pirates struck. They had intended to take the crew hostage and demand a ransom.

They were extradited to Germany in June 2010 and have been in custody since then.

Defence lawyers had argued that trying the men in Germany was ridiculous given the differences between the two countries.

“We are laying down the law according to our German standards, over people whose lives we cannot even begin to imagine,” said Rainer Pohlen, defence lawyer for the youngest defendant.

"My homeland has collapsed. I beg the presiding judge, be fair," one of the men said through a court interpreter.

But Ralf Nagel, presidium manager of the Association of German Shipowners said: “Piracy is a crime and criminals belong in court.”

Court spokesman Conrad Müller said the Hamburg court was taking on a piece of international responsibility by trying the case.

After a spike at the start of the last decade, successful pirate attacks on commercial vessels sailing off the Horn of Africa have diminished, with the pirates deterred by an international deployment of warships patrolling the coast.

Story continues below…

In 2011, some 176 attacks were recorded, and 34 have taken place so far this year, according to the latest statistics from Operation Atalanta, the European Union's anti-piracy deployment to the region.

Pirates currently control six ships and hold an estimated 156 crew members hostage.

DAPD/DPA/AFP/The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

17:07 October 19, 2012 by twisted
I am pleased about the conviction...I suspect that time in jail for these men will be better than being in Somalia and walking free....three meals a day, a bed to sleep on, free medical care. They probably will want to stay in jail when their sentences are completed.
17:38 October 19, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
Germany laying the law down again according to German standards. Don't they always do that. Make the world into a German state. OK in this case there is no sympathy for the pirates and the seas are better off without them but really this is ridiculous. Trying people for a crime committed far far away in a German court. Why not a UK court or an American court for that matter.
19:26 October 19, 2012 by rwk
@Berlin fuer alles - because the crimes were committed against a german flagged ship in International waters. Without another competent with jurisdiction, Germany has every right to try these pirates. And @twisted - yes, they may be fed and housed better by the German prison system better they would live in their home country, but without that essential thing: freedom of movement and freedom of association. I wonder how well other prisoners will treat them in jail.
19:54 October 19, 2012 by The-ex-pat
A double edged sword. Great that justice has been done, however once the sentences have been served there will be a bunch of lawyer ready to take on the case that it will be against their human rights to be sent back.................
21:04 October 19, 2012 by avatar009
Does the german warships protect illegal spanish and greece and other EU. countries?; yes is double edged sword prosecuting only nun EU.
22:13 October 19, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
@rwk So why can't we put Angie on trial in Greece for screwing up their lives? By the way the crimes were not committed in Germany or under German juristiction so Germany has no right to put these individuals on trial in Germany. The territory where they committed the crimes has jurisdiction. Just because they do not live by German standards but by their own lawless standards is a problem to be addressed politically. There is plenty of lawlessness around the world. Is Germany to choose where it goes to impose it's own rules? I hear an outcry if anyone mentions living by their own laws in Germany. :-) Double standards I think.
09:32 October 20, 2012 by ovalle3.14
These are guys are lucky they didn't attack a ship sailing under the US flag. They wouldn't be looking at 6 years in the slammer...
11:08 October 20, 2012 by mafketis
Berlin fuer alles: "The territory where they committed the crimes has jurisdiction"

The crimes were committed in international waters and the ship was flying the German flag.

According to wikipedia (usual caveats): "Ships sailing the high seas are generally under the jurisdiction of the flag state;] (if there is one) however, when a ship is involved in certain criminal acts, such as piracy, any nation can exercise jurisdiction under the doctrine of universal jurisdiction"

Unless you have other references to hand, it appears your concerns about jurisdiction and Germany usurping internation law seem to be completely unfounded. It appears that Germany has every right to try, pass sentence and imprison them.
21:23 October 20, 2012 by raandy
Berlin fuer alles thats quite an analogy comparing Mrs Merkel's stance on austerity to piracy on the high sea involving a German Flagged vessel. brilliant .
Today's headlines
Czech police detain driver for harassing Merkel's motorcade
Angela Merkel. File photo: DPA

Czech police arrested a man on Thursday for attempting to drive into the motorcade of visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Prague, they said.

Teacher convicted for holding kids back after class
Photo: DPA

A music teacher from North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) has been found guilty of "holding people against their will" after he made some naughty stay kids back after class.

Germany-denying beauty king fights cops with guns, teeth
Left: Adrian Ursache in his glam days as the 1998 Mr. Germany. Right: Police trying to evict him from his own 'country'. Photos: DPA.

Former Mr. Germany winner and founder of a group that denies the existence of Germany refused to be evicted, provoking a shootout - and bite-out - with police.

Politicians renew call to bring Snowden to Germany
Photo: GUARDIAN / GLENN GREENWALD / LAURA POITRAS.

Green and Die Linke (Left Party) politicians are asking that NSA surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden be allowed into Germany for an ongoing investigation.

Merkel urged to address Turkmenistan rights record
Angela Merkel with Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov. Photo: DPA

Human Rights Watch on Thursday urged Chancellor Angela Merkel to bring up major rights violations, including a "policy of disappearances", when Germany hosts the president of Turkmenistan next week.

Epic father-daughter comedy picked for Oscars success
A scene from film Toni Erdmann. Photo: DPA

German Films has chosen Toni Erdmann, a beefy comedy about a father's struggle to save his daughter from her isolating career, as its 2017 Oscars choice.

Germany mulls pullout from Turkish airbase: report
A German Tornado jet at the Incirlik base in Turkey. Photo: Bundeswehr/DPA.

Germany's military is preparing to pull out from a Turkish airbase as a row between the two NATO partners escalates, Der Spiegel magazine reported on Thursday.

German man arrested over Bali meth lab
Bali. Photo: DPA

A German man has been arrested on Indonesia's Bali island for allegedly making crystal methamphetamine in a secret lab, officials said Thursday, with authorities seizing bags of powders and bottles used to produce the drug.

Giant 2-metre catfish attacks woman in Bavarian lake
A wels catfish. Photo: DPA

When a young woman went for a swim in an idyllic south Bavarian region, she got more than she bargained for.

Mayor fires refugee project intern for wearing headscarf
File photo: DPA.

A Palestinian who was hired to work as an intern on a refugee project was fired by a town hall this week because she wouldn't take off her headscarf.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
What's on in Germany: events for August 2016
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
8,546
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd