Alleged Pirates On Trial in Germany

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Ten suspected Somali pirates stand trial in the German port city of Hamburg. They are accused of hijacking a German cargo ship last April.

Piracy on the High Seas has now moved to a German courtroom.

Ten Somali men stand trial in Hamburg accused of hijacking the German-flagged cargo ship, MV Taipan, last April.

Dutch commandos freed the ship shortly after.

Lawyers for the defendants - seven adults and three children - have argued against trying them in Kenya. They believe the Kenyan authorities would be overwhelmed.

Prosecutors say there is enough evidence to jail the men in Germany.

[Wilhelm Moellers, Senior Public Prosecutor]:
"We believe that the state prosecutor's office has enough evidence. We presented about 22 witnesses to the court, a variety of evidences, among them the confiscated weapons of the accused."

The men could receive 15-year prison terms, while the children might be tried under juvenile law and face a maximum of ten years.

A lawyer of a 14-year-old says his client is traumatized.

[Thomas Jung, Lawyer for Suspected Somali Pirate]:
"It is absolutely terrible for him. He broke down in tears during every phase of the trial because he visibly could not deal with the situation. Today, all of a sudden he suffered from an obscure fear. He always misses his mother very much which I could see as typical for a child. That's how he is doing."

The defense wants the court to take the poverty and hardships faced by Somalis into account during the trial.

The trying of suspected pirates is a first for Germany and one of a small number to take place in Europe.

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