Denmark may seek to try Somali pirate

A pirate who participated in the hijacking of a Danish ship in 2007 is being held in Belgium after being lured with the promise of appearing in a documentary

A Somali pirate who was arrested this weekend by Belgian police could be tried in Denmark for his role in the hijacking of a Danish ship.

Mohamed Abdi Hassan – also known as Afweyne or 'Big Mouth’ – was lured to Belgium with the promise of appearing in a documentary about his life as a pirate but was detained by police when he landed in Brussels.

Hassan and fellow pirate Mohammed Tiiceey – who was also apprehended in Brussels – will be charged for their role in the 2009 hijacking of a Belgian ship.

Hijacked a Danish ship
Hassan is also responsible for the 2007 hijacking of the Danish ship Danica White, which was released after 83 days for a ransom of four million kroner.

“Afweyne is responsible for a lot of kidnappings as founder and leader of the group Somali Marines, a piracy group,” Hans Tino Hansen, the head of the intelligence firm Risk Intelligence, told Ritzau. 

“Seen through Danish eyes, what’s most interesting is the connection to Danica White,” he said, adding that Afweyne probably shared a cut of the ransom.

READ MORE: Danish hostages freed after more than two years in captivity

Danish trial
Birgit Feldman, an expert in maritime law and a researcher in piracy at the University of Southern Denmark, told Ritzau that the pirates could be tried in a Danish court.

“The Belgians have arrested him because they want to try him. But regardless of Belgian law, Denmark will be able to try the pirate if there is sufficient evidence,” Feldman said. “The pirate doesn’t even need to have been onboard the Danica White. It is sufficient if it can be proven that he arranged and planned the hijacking.”

According to Ritzau, no-one has been tried or held responsible for any of the hijackings that resulted in 15 Danes being held hostage by Somali pirates since 2007.

No plans for Danish trial

According to Per Fiig, the deputy state prosecutor for serious economic and international crime (SØIK), Denmark was not involved in the operation to arrest Hassan.

“We have applied through Eurojust [the EU’s judicial cooperation unit] for Belgium to share any information they have for the grounds of their arrest of the alleged pirate leader,” Fiig told the Copenhagen Post.

“Based on the information we receive from Belgium we will review whether there is a link to Danish hijackings. But currently we have no solid grounds to raise a case.”

This article was updated on 11:43, 16/10/13 to include the comment from deputy state prosecutor Per Fiig.





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