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Piracy: Mombasa court hands 20-year jail term to 11 Somalis

Somali pirates arraigned in the law courts of Kenya's coastal town of Mombasa in the past. Eleven Somalis were on Thursday sentenced to a 20-year jail term for attacking a French naval ship. FILE
Somali pirates arraigned in the law courts of Kenya's coastal town of Mombasa in the past. Eleven Somalis were on Thursday sentenced to a 20-year jail term for attacking a French naval ship. FILE 

Eleven Somalis were on Thursday sentenced to a 20-year jail term for attacking a French naval ship.

Mombasa court Principal magistrate Mr S.K. Gacheru declined to have the accused serve their sentence in Somalia as they had pleaded during mitigation.

Mr Gacheru instead ordered that they be deported to Somalia upon completion of their sentence.

The court noted that the offence was serious and that it had endangered the lives of the crew of the French naval ship, Nivose.

The magistrate said the offence called for a deterrent sentence to act as a warning to others who might have the intention of committing a similar offence.

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The accused are Ahmed Abikadir,Abdirahim Mohamed,Abdullahi Salat,Abdullahi Yusuf,Abdullahi Mohamud,Abdi Dahir,Ahmed Maalim,Ahmed Hassan,Ahmed Mohamed,Abshir Ahmed and Omar Ibrahim.

They allegedly committed the offence while armed with two AK 47 rifles, an RPG 7, six RPG launchers and a knife attacked the naval ship on May 3 2009 upon the high seas.

State counsel Catherine Mwaniki urged the court to impose a harsh sentence on the accused citing the seriousness of the offence and economic costs incurred.

“The accused are not of Kenyan origin, their nationalities have not been established, there are no records of their previous convictions in the country and that they may be treated as first offenders” Ms Mwaniki added.

Lawyer Ng’etich Samson representing the accused called upon the court to consider that the accused did not board the naval ship during the incident and that at no point was ransom paid.

The judgement was prepared by Principal magistrate Karimi Mwangi who has since been transferred but was delivered by Mr Gacheru.

The eleven pirates now join list of other Somalis who have been convicted and sentenced by Kenyan courts foir piracy in the high seas.

Kenya prosecuted its first piracy case in the year 2006 and has since been receiving and prosecuting suspected Somali pirates captured by international forces patrolling international the Indian Ocean.

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