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Pirate can be prosecuted in Denmark

A maritime law expert says that the Somali pirate now in custody in Belgium can be prosecuted in Denmark.

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Belgian police are holding a Somali pirate warlord who has been lured to Belgium on promises of a film role. If Danishpolice have enough evidence to couple him to the hijack of the Danish vessel Danica White, he can be prosecuted in Denmark, according to a maritime law expert.

“The Belgians have arrested him because they want to prosecute him themselves,” says University of Southern Denmark Ass. Prof. Birgit Feldtmann.

“Depending on Belgian law, it could be possible to include the Danica White case in the Belgian prosecution. But legally there is nothing to prevent Denmark prosecuting him alone if there is sufficient evidence,” Feldtmann says.

Feltman, who also researches piracy, says that pirates seldom clean up after themselves when they release a vessel, allowing evidence to be collected.

“The warlord behind the kidnapping does not have to have been on board t; it is enough to prove that he has planned and organised the hijack,” she says.

A total of 15 Danes have been held hostage by pirates since 2007. Apart from merchant mariners, a Danish family of five and their two crewmembers have been held. As yet, no-one has been arrested or sentenced for the hijacks.

“There has been a debate suggesting that there is no political wish to prosecute pirates in Denmark. I believe that incidents should be investigated and efforts made to arrest the pirates, even though it is complicated,” she says, adding that despite the fact that the Danica White case goes back six years, it has not fallen under the Statute of Limitations.

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