US hands pirate suspects to Seychelles for trial

March 7, 2012 17:22


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VICTORIA - The United States has handed over 15 suspected Somali pirates to Seychelles to stand trial, a move the Indian Ocean archipelago says is a clear signal of its determination to fight maritime attacks.

Finding a suitable place to try suspected pirates detained by foreign navies patrolling the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean has proved difficult on several occasions, and the gunmen are sometimes released.Seychelles changed its laws last year to allow pirates captured anywhere beyond its territorial waters to be prosecuted, although it has turned down some requests, such as from Denmark in January.

US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the suspected pirates were detained in January when the US Navy rescued 13 Iranian fishermen abducted in the Arabian Sea and held hostage for more than a month.

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