German court jails Somali pirate for 12 years

A German court on Thursday (April 17th) sentenced a Somali pirate to 12 years in jail for hijacking a ship off the coast of Oman in May 2010 and tormenting its crew during an eight-month hostage ordeal.

The 44-year-old unnamed pirate was found guilty of kidnapping and extortion charges for the attack on chemical tanker Marida Marguerite and its 22 crewmembers.

The hostages were released in December 2010 after a $5 million ransom was paid by the German shipping company that owns the Marshall Islands-flagged vessel.

The defendant was arrested in May 2013 when he applied for refugee status in Germany using false papers. He was identified by his fingerprints and later by witnesses flown in by the court from India.

The man has one week to appeal the sentence, which was short of the maximum 15-year-term, but more than the seven years demanded by the defence.

Prosecutors could not prove that the defendant was head of the entire operation, but they were able to convince the court that he had at least tolerated the torture of the hostages.
The trial was Germany’s second against Somali pirates. Ten pirates were jailed in the first trial in 2012, and given jail terms between two and seven years.