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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Somalia: Captured pirates could face death penalty

Although the headline says "Puntland Will Execute Captured Pirates", such a severe penalty is rare.
Security forces in Somalia's northern state of Puntland stormed a hijacked ship Tuesday, safely releasing hostages and arresting the seven pirates on board, the region's security minister said.

Abdullahi Said Samatar, the security minister in Puntland, told reporters at the port of Bossaso, the region's commercial hub, that 100 soldiers and several armored boats took part in the rescue effort.

He stated that of the seven captured pirates, three were wounded during a brief skirmish with Puntland security forces.
The captured pirates were transported out of Bossaso port and are being held under heavy guard at a discreet location, informed sources said.

Mr. Samatar told journalists that the government of Puntland will charge the captured pirates in court, where they will face the death penalty.

No criminal convicted of piracy has ever been executed by the Puntland government to date.
The appropriate lines from HMS Pinafore might be: "What, never?" "Hardly ever."

Meanwhile, back in international circles,
The U.S. and France are drafting a U.N. resolution to battle pirates off Somalia's coast.

France's U.N. ambassador says the resolution would authorize foreign governments to chase pirate ships, make arrests and prosecute suspects. He tells The Associated Press that it could take 1 or 2 weeks to enact because it has to be done by consensus.

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