- Al Sharpton, Trayvon Martin’s parents rally against Fla. ‘stand your ground’ law
- Hillary Clinton campaign got illicit funds from D.C. scandal figure
- Obama administration backs off plan to cut prescription-drug program
- Tickets linked to stolen passports purchased by Iranian middleman
- More than 3,500 police planned for Boston Marathon
- Ottawa day care suspends 2-year-old for ‘outside’ cheese sandwich
- Liam Neeson tells NYC mayor to ‘man up’ in horse carriage fight
- Real-life Dr. Doolittle to reveal how to talk to animals
- Climate change could bring back smallpox, researchers say
- Shoe-bomb witness to speak from London at N.Y. trial
Dutch court sentences 5 Somali pirates to 5 years
ROTTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) — Five Somali men were sentenced to prison Thursday for attacking a Dutch Antilles-flagged cargo ship with automatic weapons and a rocket-propelled grenade, in the first piracy case to come to trial in Europe in modern times.
The five were convicted of assaulting the Samanyulo in the Gulf of Aden in 2009, an attack that was thwarted by helicopter-borne Danish marines. Each of the attackers was sentenced to five years in prison.
“Piracy is a serious crime that must be powerfully resisted,” said presiding Judge Klein Wolterink.
But one of the defendants called the decision unfair.
Other defendants shook their lawyers’ hands and waved at reporters as they were escorted out of the courtroom.
The case is a landmark in the fight against the escalating incidents of piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean that prompted navies around the world to join in a task force to protect one of the world’s busiest sea lanes for merchant ships and oil tankers.
But the pirates sometimes succeed in collecting multimillion-dollar ransoms. And the high-seas hijackings have persisted despite an international armada deployed by the United States, the European Union, NATO, Japan, South Korea and China. Maritime experts say the trial is unlikely to deter the piracy, which brings large amounts of money into the impoverished and lawless coastal region of Somalia.
Nonetheless, he said, he was swayed by the fact that the pirates “were only out for their own financial gain and didn’t let themselves be troubled about damage or suffering caused to victims.”
It was only by “lucky coincidence that nobody was killed or wounded,” the judge said.
Other Somali piracy suspects are being held in France, Spain, Germany and the United States.
Kenya has convicted 18 pirates since 2007. More than 100 accused await trial there.
Hundreds of pirates have been detained, and several have been brought to Europe since the international armada was mobilized, but the majority have been released at sea because of the cost and difficulty of bringing them to trial.
At their trial last month the men who were sentenced Thursday denied wrongdoing. Most said they had been fishing and had approached the container ship for help when their skiff ran out of fuel and food.
TWT Video Picks
By David Keene
Conference showed that the values Reagan cherished still endure
- FCC targets black conservative in TV station fight
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Hillary Clinton campaign received funds from Jeffrey Thompson
- Senate Democrats, Republicans spar over restoring unemployment benefits
- Sharyl Attkisson resigns from CBS after months of talks
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Russias Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
- 80 people publicly executed across North Korea for films, Bibles
- Mitch McConnell on beating tea party: 'We are going to crush them'
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again