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Europe
Dutch court jails Somali pirates
Five men sentenced to five years in jail for attempting to hijack ship in 2009.
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2010 13:59 GMT
The defendants claimed they were
fishermen and not pirates [EPA] 

A Dutch court has sentenced five Somali pirates to five years in jail for seeking to hijack a Dutch Antilles-flagged ship.

Prosecutors had sought seven-year jail terms for the men, accused of attempting to hijack the Samanyolu in the Gulf of Aden with rockets and guns in January 2009.

Aged between 25 and 45, the men pleaded innocence on the first day of their trial in a court in Rotterdam in the west of the Netherlands on May 25.

They told the court they were simple fishermen who were attacked as they sought help from the ship after developing engine trouble and running out of food and water at sea.

But prosecutors said they were arrested after attacking the ship with automatic weapons and rockets.

European warrants

Dutch authorities issued European arrest warrants for the five men three weeks after their arrest, and they were flown on a military plane from Bahrain in February last year to the  Netherlands, where they have been in custody ever since.

Haroon Raza, a defence lawyer, told Al Jazeera he was dismayed at Thursday's verdict.

"I feel it is an incorrect verdict as far as the legal and human aspects are concerned," Raza said.

"We are going to appeal today. I believe the court will eventually come to a dismissal, or at least a reduction of the sentence.

"The Netherlands does not have jurisdiction in this case."

The five men are the first Somali pirates to stand trial in Europe. 

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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