Seychelles: Trial of 5 Somali Nationals Suspected of Piracy Opens At Seychelles Supreme Court

Four witnesses from the Seychelles Police Force presented their evidence Monday as the trial of five Somali nationals suspected of a pirate attack against a Korean fishing vessel began at the Supreme Court.

According to the EU NAVFOR, the incident began on April 19, 2019 when five suspected pirates captured a Yemeni dhow off the coast of Somalia. Two days later the pirates attacked the Korean fishing vessel Adria with the dhow acting as a mothership in the Indian Ocean some 280 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia.

On April 23, the EU NAVFOR’s flagship ESPS NAVARRA intercepted and boarded the captured dhow vessel and apprehended the five suspected pirates. The forces said that it was the first notable piracy incident event since October 2018, a huge drop in frequency compared to a decade earlier when Somali piracy interrupted international shipping and travel on a major scale.

The prosecutor in the case, Georges Thachett, told SNA that “we have a fair amount of evidence but it is up to the court to decide the outcome.”

The lawyer representing the Somalis, Joel Camille, told SNA that the local witnesses are expected to be heard until Thursday when witnesses overseas would connect via video link. Only then, Camile said, would he know how the case for his clients was going.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, the EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation Atalanta transferred the five suspects to Seychellois authorities last year in accordance with a transfer agreement between the Seychelles and the European Union with support from United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).