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German Navy Captures Seven Pirates

Daily Guide
31 March 2009 | Africa

Parite on shore For the second time since the anti-pirate mission Atalanta began in December, German military forces have detained several Somali pirates, the military said on Monday.

According to a spokesperson for the German Bundeswehr, the fuel carrier “Spessart” was attacked by pirates on Sunday afternoon in the notoriously dangerous waters near the Horn of Africa. The ship sustained light damage, and seven pirates were taken into custody.

The pirates are now on board the German frigate “Rheinland-Pfalz.” It is yet to be determined where criminal prosecutions will take place.

In early March, nine Somali men captured by a German frigate as they attacked a cargo ship were sent to Kenya - not Germany - for trial, the Defence Ministry confirmed at the time.

Parliamentary defence expert for the conservative Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) party, Christian Schmidt, voiced his support for the pirates' prosecution in Germany, since the case concerns German interests.

“Without wanting to anticipate how this will be decided, I am of the opinion that the pirates should stand trial in Germany,” Schmidt said.

An inter-departmental committee representing the Defence, Foreign, Interior and Justice ministries is set to come together this afternoon to discuss the case. A legal possibility exists to bring defendants before a German court for piracy when German interests are “significantly” concerned. In this case, the pirates would be brought from Djibouti to the Hamburg prosecutor's office.

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