The men will be tried by Kenyan courts under an agreement signed Friday between that country and the European Union. The agreement lays out conditions for how suspects should be treated. Among other provisions, the agreement requires that suspects be tried “immediately” by a judge and treated humanely.
The decision to send the suspected pirates to Kenya comes after speculation Saturday that the Hamburg prosecutor’s office might choose to charge the men. The Somalis were arrested by German sailors after trying to capture the German cargo ship MV Courier last Tuesday.
German naval vessels are participating in a multinational operation off the coast of Africa to fight the growing risk of sea piracy in the area. There were roughly 250 reported pirate attacks off of the Horn of Africa in 2008, of which at least 48 resulted in ransom being paid.
Last week’s arrests was the first time that the German navy has captured sea bandits in African waters since joining the international mission.