Monday, January 30, 2012

Sitting in Prison

Six Somali men arrested off the coast of Somalia on January 12th are now sitting in prison in Spain after allegedly attacking the Atalanta Flagship, Patina. (Spain is currently leading Atalanta, having replaced Germany in December 2011).  The men say they are fishermen and that one of their group was killed by the Spanish military.

The charges they face include attempted piracy and disobeying a warship. No trial date has yet been set.

Meanwhile in Hamburg, Germany, the prosecution has rested its case and called for sentences ranging from seven to eleven years for the adult men on trial and  between four and five and a half years for the under-age defendants. The court case is set to continue until the end of March.

And in Belgium, the Brussels Court of Appeal upheld the sentence of ten years given in July last year against the one person on trial there. He had been arrested in November 2009 on the basis of DNA evidence held in the Interpol collection. The collection of DNA samples of suspected Somali "pirates" was officially established in mid-2010 after an anti-pirate conference in South Korea.

Many northern Hemisphere and western countries oppose the collection of DNA samples from their own  population, but allow their own navies and military to build databases of Somali people in Africa and their border agencies to build databases of refugees and people seeking asylum.