Tags: somalia | pirates | fume | trial

Somalia Fumes at US Pirate Trial

Friday, 21 May 2010 11:06 AM

A Somali official has criticised the US for prosecuting a man over a piracy incident off the Horn of Africa.

Jamaal Cumar, a US-based Somali official, told the BBC there were "serious concerns" over jurisdiction in the case of Abdiwali Abdiqadir Muse.

Mr Cumar questioned the authority of any foreign country to try Somali pirates active off East Africa.

Muse, from Somalia, faces 27 years in a US jail after admitting an attack on the Maersk Alabama in April 2009.

He was captured by the US Navy, whose sharpshooters killed three other pirates trying to escape on a lifeboat, saving the captain.

He is due to be sentenced in October.

On Wednesday, Muse's mother spoke to the Associated Press to appeal to US President Barack Obama to forgive her son, saying he was lured into piracy by older friends.
'Extrajudicial practice'

Mr Cumar told the BBC's Network Africa he had been trying to work out why the US would have any authority to try Muse's case and those of several other suspects in custody in the US.

"The Somali government's position has always been that we questioned the jurisdiction of this case," he said.
Crew members celebrating on the Maersk Alabama after the captain's release The Maersk Alabama was carrying aid bound for Somalia when attacked

"We felt that it was an exercise in extrajudicial practice of the law and we asked the US to return those pirates back to Somalia."

Mr Cumar says he wants a UN-backed international tribunal to deal with piracy cases.

Somali pirate suspects have been tried in various countries across the world, as Somalia has no functioning central government.

Legal experts have been struggling with the problem of where to try piracy cases for years.

Meanwhile, the European Union says it is trying find a regional solution by involving Somalia's neighbours.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, in the region highlighting the need to establish a functioning government in Mogadishu, said: "The solution to the sea is on the land."

Foreign forces have frequently caught pirates off Somalia, disarmed them and then put them back to sea because there is no local authority to deal with them.

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A Somali official has criticised the US for prosecuting a man over a piracy incident off the Horn of Africa.
Friday, 21 May 2010 11:06 AM
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