Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Somali pirates trial: Deposition of 18 foreigners begins

File photo of the Somali pirates

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The 18 foreign witnesses will begin deposition in the videoconferencing trial of the 120 Somali pirates, who are facing charges of murder, hijacking a ship and waging war against the Indian government, in a city court from Wednesday.
    “The court has examined 70 Indian witnesses and 12
are left to be examined. Six witnesses from Thailand, six from Mozambique, two from Pakistan and four from Iran are yet to be examined. We have sent a request for video trial to their countries,” said asenior police officer.
    The pirates were captured by the Indian Navy and Coast Guard in separate raids. Around 60 of the pirates were caught in March 2011, when naval ships intercepted a captured Mozambican fishing vessel, Vega 5, in the Arabian Sea about 600 nautical miles west of India. Others were caught when the Navy launched an assault to free the Iranian fishing trawler, Al Murtaza, that was captured by the pirates.
    At least 70 hostages, mostly crew members from Thailand, Philippines, Bangladesh, Iran, Turkey, Myanmar and Pakistan, were rescued, and 11 AK-47 rifles with magazines, 10 AK-47s without magazines and two rocket launchers were seized. The pirates had killed Iranian national Mohammed Adam when he tried to resist them, while Pakistani national Abdul Aziz jumped into the sea.
    Harvinder Kour Wariach, DCP, Port zone, in a letter to secretary (IS- I division), ministry of home affairs, said it was decided to call the 18 foreign witnesses to the Indian Embassy in their respective countries and collect evidence through videoconferencing.
    The amicus curiae for the parties have given an application to the sessions court stating that the foreign witnesses should be genuine. A hearing in this matter will take place on Wednesday.

The Times of India, March 26, 2014

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