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Somali ‘pirates’ charged, face death penalty

 | February 11, 2011

The seven, including three 15-year-olds, were accused of discharging their firearms onboard a Malaysian vessel.

KUALA LUMPUR: The seven Somalis involved in the attempted hijacking of a Malaysian vessel were charged under Section 3 of the Firearms (Increased Penalties) Act 1971 at a magistrate’s court here today.

The alleged pirates were accused of discharging their weapons onboard the MT Bunga Laurel when confronted by the Malaysian Navy’s Special Forces (Paskal). The offence took place off the coast of Oman, in the Gulf of Aden.

According to the charge sheet, the seven, including three 15-year-olds, had committed the offence between 8.10pm and 10pm on the night of Jan 20.

No plea was recorded from the seven.

If convicted, the offence carries a mandatory death sentence. However, the three minors are expected to have their sentence commuted to prison terms.

The seven remained calm when the charge was read out to them via an interpreter, a Somali student in Malaysia.

The charge order sent by Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail stated that the offence had affected Malaysian security and therefore the suspects could be prosecuted as though the crime had been committed in Malaysia.

Magistrate Siti Shakirah Mohtarudin set March 15 as the next mention date. None of the accused was represented.


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