Indian envoy hails our anti-piracy laws


President Michel and President Silanyo exchanging the signed documents in the UK in February

Mr Darlong was talking to Nation during preparations to receive Indian President Pratibha Patil who is due here tomorrow.

Their country – like many others who have to let pirates caught in high waters go free, or avoid arresting them because of legal implications – is still working on laws similar to those of Seychelles, which he said involve many issues that need to be sorted out before coming up with a foolproof system.

He said India is as badly affected by pirates as Seychelles and sees us as its partner in dealing with the problem, in the same way as Seychelles gets a lot of help from India and other countries, for example to patrol our exclusive economic zone.

He said like Seychelles, his country has launched an all-out war against piracy.
Legal experts from 50 countries who held an international meeting here said the same of our laws recently.

"Seychelles has the right laws, an effective coastguard, is prosecuting pirates and has an arrangement for the transfer of pirates back to Somalia, so this country is offering a very good example to the rest of the world. Seychelles is a role model," said Thomas Winkler, who chairs the Working Group 2 of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of CGPCS as the 80 members of his team met.

When piracy became a problem affecting Seychelles’ economy by threatening fisheries and tourism, President James Michel urged the National Assembly to enact laws allowing capture of pirates wherever they may be.

Since then Seychelles has pursued buccaneers who have seized our fishermen, rescued them and other nationals held captive, and brought the pirates to Mahe to face the law.

Many of them have since been convicted and dozens have been deported to Somalia, following extra work led by Mr Michel to secure agreements allowing transfer of convicts back home to serve their sentences under United Nations’ scrutiny.

The last such effort took place in London recently when Mr Michel and Somaliland President Ahmed Mahamoud Silanyo signed an agreement for the transfer of convicted pirates to serve their sentences back in their country.

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