The Seychelles Supreme Court today convicted and sentenced 11 accused Somali pirates. Eight accused were convicted for the offense of committing an act of piracy, and 3 others for aiding and abetting an act of piracy. There are 29 other suspected and accused Somali pirates who are still awaiting trial in Seychelles or transfer from the Republic of Seychelles to Somalia. The 11 sentenced today were each given sentences of 10 years of imprisonment.
The offenses took place in the Seychelles EEZ on December 5 & 6, 2009 when TOPAZ was attacked with automatic weapons by the pirates in two different skiffs. The aiders and abettors were found in a mother skiff not very far from the attack. Evidence has revealed that the mother skiff had provided ammunitions and firearms to the two attack skiffs before they effected the attack.
The convicts days spent on remand are to be subtracted on the totality of the sentence and the juvenile offenders have been ordered to be detained separately from the adult convicts.
Their conviction is a historical milestone as it is the first time that a piracy trial is successfully prosecuted in the Seychelles.
Moreover, these convicts will assist in the building of confidence of the countries and institutions supporting Seychelles in efforts in the region, and in extenso, it will serve as a deterrent from prospective Somali pirates who would otherwise have thought that they would have come into Seychelles waters with impunity.