Diplomatic row over release of convicted pirates
Publish date: 12 August 2019
Issue Number: 836
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
A dispute over the 'premature' release of convicted pirates by Somaliland authorities may reach the UN Security Council following a protest by the Seychelles. The Indian Ocean state has complained after Somaliland freed 19 prisoners jailed for piracy in the Seychelles after being transferred to Hargeisa to serve their terms. The move is seen as a violation of a bilateral agreement the two sides signed in February 2012. The East African reports that the Seychelles first protested to the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS), a coalition of countries combating piracy in East African waters that is sanctioned by the UN Security Council. The Seychelles agreed with Somaliland that the prisoners would complete their jail terms – ranging from 10 to 24 years – in Hargeisa. 'This clearly compromises the agreed arrangements providing for the repatriation of such individuals to their home country to serve their sentence on a humanitarian basis,' a CGPCS statement noted.