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No country found for prosecution

No country found for prosecution
A Dutch navy frigate released 13 pirates it held for two weeks after the European Union was unable to find a country in the region willing to prosecute them.

A Dutch navy frigate released 13 pirates it held for two weeks after the European Union was unable to find a country in the region willing to prosecute them.

A Dutch navy frigate released 13 pirates it held for two weeks after the European Union was unable to find a country in the region willing to prosecute them.

The pirates were arrested by naval officers from the HMS Evertsen on December 3 after attacking a merchant vessel flying the Antiguan flag in the Arabian sea. On Thursday, the pirates were returned to their own vessel and released near the Somalian coast with ?sufficient stocks of fuel and food?, the Dutch defence minister, Eimert van Middelkoop, said in a statement.

The frigate is part of the EU mission Atalanta, that is helping fight piracy in the waters of the Somalian coast, but Dutch and EU authorities seem to disagree on the rules of that mission.

According to a spokesperson for the mission the decision where to prosecute pirates is always in the hands of the arresting ship. ?If the arresting nation declines to prosecute, other countries in the region are asked to do so,? the spokesperson said. The Netherlands currently only prosecutes pirates at home if they have attacked a ship flying the Dutch flag, and claims it is the policy of the Atalanta mission to seek local prosecution for arrested pirates. Van Middelkoop expressed his disappointment over the fact not a single nation had proven willing to take on the captives, calling the countries" behaviour ?frustrating?.

The EU has agreements concerning the prosecution of pirates with Kenya and the Seychelles. Kenya, however, feels that is has already taken on more than its fair share of suspects, and wants other countries in the region to do their part as well. According to Dutch government sources, 150 suspects are currently awaiting trial in Kenya.

The Seychelles are unwilling to prosecute pirates arrested more than 200 kilometres outside of their exclusive economic zone. Tanzania also refused to prosecute the pirates, even though two of its citizens, who claimed to have been taken hostage, were found aboard the pirate vessel.

Dutch foreign minister Maxime Verhagen in May insisted a special tribunal be formed in the region to prosecute pirates.

www.TurkishMaritime.com.tr

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