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France, Denmark compensate pirates

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The European Court of Human Rights sided with pirates over France in two cases last week. France, it seemed, held nine Somalis pirates too long before being brought up on charges.

The pirates had hijacked a French-registered cruise ship and yacht in separate incidents off the coast of Somalia in 2008. They were arrested and held by the French army, then transferred to France where they were taken into police custody and prosecuted, according to a news report by Reuters.

The European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been a violation of rights to liberty and security.

France was charged to pay each pirate in one case 5,000 euros in damages and 7,272 euros for costs. In the other case, France is to pay each pirate 2,000 euros in damages and 9,000 euros for costs.

Just four days later, Reuters reported that Denmark had compensated nine other Somalis suspected of trying to hijack a Danish ship in 2013 because they were detained too long before being brought before a judge.

Each pirate received about $3,247 for the 13 days they were detained. About 43 percent of the Somali population lives on less than $1 a day.

Danish Navy support ship Esben Snarre seized the nine suspected pirates on the high seas after the unsuccessful hijacking and held them for 13 days before they were brought before a judge via a video link. He found them not guilty.

In an unrelated incident, pirates killed a crew member of a Vietnamese tanker on Sunday 60nm from Singapore.

According to a report by the Bloomberg news service, the 16 crew members of the tanker were tied up as the pirates searched the ship. They fled with only personal belongings of the crew.

The nationalities of the pirates are unknown.

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About Lucy Chabot Reed

Lucy Chabot Reed is publisher and founding editor of The Triton.

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