The Korea Herald


Somali pirates appeal sentences in S. Korea

By 천성우

Published : June 1, 2011 - 19:25

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BUSAN (Yonhap News) ― Two of the four Somali pirates convicted last week of maritime robbery and hijacking a South Korean-owned freighter have lodged an appeal against the court decision, their attorneys said Wednesday.

The Busan District Court on Friday sentenced Mahomed Arai, 21, to life in prison for shooting Seok Hae-kyun, the captain of the ship, the Samho Jewelry, and seven other charges, including attempted murder and maritime robbery.

“Arai was convicted of shooting Captain Seok although evidence was not enough to prove the charge. And I don’t agree to the ruling that he took the crew members as human shields,” Kwon Hyuk-keun, defense lawyer for Arai, said. “So I filed an appeal after meeting Arai.”

The Samho Jewelry was seized in the Arabian Sea by Somali pirates on Jan. 15 but was rescued during a raid by South Korean naval commandos six days later. A total of five pirates were captured alive and transfered to stand trial in South Korea.

Aul Brallat, the second pirate who appealed, received a 15-year prison sentence for attempting to kill the ship’s crew by using them as human shields.

Two other pirates, who were each sentenced to 13 years in prison on similar charges, are also expected to appeal.

The fifth captured pirate, known as Abdulahi Husseen Maxamuud, will stand a separate trial and be sentenced on Wednesday.

Prosecutors said they also will challenge the court ruling because three pirates were cleared of a charge of plotting to kill Seok. The prosecutors had demanded the death penalty for Arai and life in prison for the three others.

“Three pirates, except Arai, should have been punished for having conspired to kill Captain Seok. We will have a higher court look into it,” a prosecutor official said, adding that they have not yet made a decision on whether to lodge an appeal against the life term for Arai.