Supreme Court upholds Somali pirate’s life sentence

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Dec 22, 2011 - 18:52
  • Updated : Dec 22, 2011 - 18:52

The life sentence for a Somali pirate who hijacked a South Korean freighter and shot its captain early this year was upheld in the Supreme Court Thursday, denying his last appeal.

The court upheld the ruling for Mahomed Arai’s, 21, the leader of five pirates captured on the hijacked ship, Samho Jewelry, for attempted murder, maritime robbery and six other offenses.

The court also upheld the earlier sentences of 13 to 15 years for three others ― Abdikhad Iman Ali, Abdullah Ali and Aul Brallat ― for their role in the attack. This concluded the nation’s first-ever piracy trial.

The five were captured in January when South Korean naval commandos raided the Samho Jewelry in the Arabian Sea, rescuing all 21 crew members and killing eight pirates. The fifth pirate captured had a separate trial because he pleaded guilty to all of his charges. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

“Normally because the pirate had inflicted a life-threatening wound on captain Seok he should receive the death sentence, but considering how the rest of his eight comrades were killed during the raid and captain Seok is making a full recovery, the death sentence is no longer applicable,” said court officials in the first and second ruling.

Despite the defendant’s lawyer arguing that the court had overstepped its jurisdiction, the court responded that because the case involved crimes committed against Korean citizens, jurisdiction is Korea’s.

By Robert Lee (