26 February 2013

Somalia: Japanese Court Sentences Teenage Somali Pirate

The Tokyo District Court on Monday (February 25th) sentenced an 18-year-old Somali man to five to nine years in prison for attempting to hijack a Bahamas-flagged oil tanker in the Gulf of Aden in March 2011, the Japan Times reported.

The defendant, whose name has not been released because he is a minor under Japanese law, is one of four men to be tried under Japan's 2009 anti-piracy law. His sentencing comes three weeks after the Tokyo District Court sentenced two pirates to 10-year jail terms for the same hijacking operation.

The defendant admitted to participating in the attack but denied any responsibility for organising the attempted hijacking. Nonetheless, presiding Judge Katsunori Ono ruled that he was a full accomplice, and that because he was the only one who could speak English, he was expected to play a large role by communicating with hostages.

The fourth crewmember, also a minor at the time of the incident, is due to stand trial next week.

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