Nine Somali men, being held on remand for alleged piracy, were transferred to authorities in Garowe, Puntland on a special Punt Air flight that departed Seychelles earlier today.
The nine Prohibited Immigrants were arrested on piracy related charges after landing on Aldabra in April this year but following an evaluation of the case file the Attorney General’s Office found the evidence available insufficient for a successful prosecution.
Subsequently, the Seychelles Government immediately began repatriation procedures with the relevant authorities in Somalia and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) who are also funding and overseeing the transfer.
“The repatriation exercise required a lot of time and patience. It is an example of burden sharing and it shows that Seychelles is not alone. The international community has contributed and needs to contribute further in various ways in helping us in this fight,” said the Minister for Home Affairs, Environment and Transport, Mr. Joel Morgan, who is also the Chair of the High Level Committee on Piracy and holds the portfolio for the prisons.
The Minister also explained that this repatriation exercise will be followed in early February by talks with Somali authorities on the repatriation of convicted Somali pirates back to Somalia to serve their sentence. He added that such arrangements will not only allow justice to be served but it will also reduce pressure on the prison services at Montagne Possée.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Jean-Paul Adam, said that his Ministry was working closely with international partners to increase the support given to Seychelles and to increase collaborative opportunities such as these repatriation exercises.
“Joint exercises like these show that just because Seychelles is leading the fight against piracy does not mean we are the only ones carrying the load, collaboration is key. We will continue to do our part and we will continue to push for greater regional partnership,” said Minister Adam.
Earlier this month 9 Somali nationals were found guilty of three charges of piracy in a historical trial and each sentenced to a term of 22 years under the new section 65 of the Seychelles Penal Code.
In July of this year the Supreme Court of Seychelles also sentenced 11 Somalis to 10 years imprisonment each for offences related to Piracy.
State House of Seychelles