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Spanish Court Sentences Somali Pirates to 439 Years

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A court in Spain has sentenced two Somali pirates to 439 years in prison each for their role in the 2009 hijacking of a Spanish fishing vessel.

The National Court on Tuesday found the two men, identified as Cabdiweli Cabdullahi and Raagegeesey Adji, guilty of 36 counts of illegal detention and robbery. They were acquitted of charges of terrorism and membership in an organized crime group.

The two were captured by Spanish marines after sailing away from the boat they hijacked.

The tuna boat MS Alakrana was seized along with its 36-member crew off the Somali coast in October 2009. The boat and crew were held for 47 days.

The Spanish government has neither confirmed nor denied media reports saying it paid more than $3 million dollars in ransom.

Pirates have made hundreds of millions of dollars in recent years hijacking and holding ships for ransom.

International naval patrols off Somalia's coast have had little success in stopping pirates from attacking ships in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean.

Article by VOA News