After the 12 Somalians who were accused of being pirates were freed on the 6th of November 2014 following the verdict in Intermediate Court that was pronounced in their favour, the DPP had lodged an appeal, resulting in their detention as they were bound onto the Mauritian territory until further notice.
Today morning, 5th of February, the legal proceedings were to be initiated again in the presence of the Master and Registrar of the Supreme Court.
The 12 accused had been caught on the 5th of January 2013 by European Union naval forces. After they were arrested, they were put into the custody of the French marine for their ultimate transfer to Mauritius. They had denied the charges levelled at them that purported that they had attacked the ship MSC Jasmine near the Somalian coasts, and claimed to be fishermen.
The 12 accused are Abdeoulakader Mohamed Ali, Said Mohamed Hassan, Ahmed Mohamed Isamel , Shafll Mohamed Osman, Hassan Salad Omar, Said Omar Farah, Abdilahi Ahmed Mohamed, Ali Hassan Mohamed, Abdi Mohamed Kidiye, Abdi Ahmed Yussouf, Abdillahi Mohamed Ahmed and Mahad Mohamed Ibrahim.
It was purported that when the Somalians had approached MSC Jasmine, the latter’s officers had alerted them through the shooting of two flares. In spite of this, the Somalians are said to have shot a number of bullets in the direction of the ship. It was even asserted that they had thrown a grenade at the ship that fortunately remained untouched. However, no evidence of the incident as it was narrated was found. Magistrates Azam Neerooa and Wendy Rangan had thus pronounced a verdict of not guilty.
The court had also ruled that their detention was illegal.
The office of the DPP had however submitted around 18 reasons in opposition to the freeing of the accused. He argued that the court had failed to provide a just ruling by concluding that the incident occurred in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the country when, in reality, Somalia does not have an EEZ. According to the DPP, the court had also failed to evaluate the testimonies of the prosecution’s witnesses who were foreign military officers involved in the arrestation of the 12 accused. Furthermore, the DPP added that the detention itself was not subjected to debates during the trial. The DPP also put into question the conclusion of the court that supposedly no grenade was thrown towards the ship.