Suspected pirates demand new mattresses in jail


12-July-2012

A suspected pirate in a past case is examined using the best available technology by the country’s best doctors and nurses including health commissioner Dr Jude Gedeon

Referring to the arsenal they were allegedly caught with as the most deadly he had seen, a court official told Nation the suspects “keep making demands and behave as if they want to disrupt the proceedings, sometimes throwing ad hoc statements at judge Duncan Gaswaga who is hearing the case”.

Responding to their request, Mr Gaswaga summoned prisons superintendent Maxime Tirant who submitted a report to the court with pictures he said showed the prisoners have ideal accommodation. Nation recently heard visiting Somali ministers and United Nations officials describe the new block in which convicted and suspected Somali pirates are housed as “very comfortable”, a fact Mr Tirant pointed out in his report.

Nation learned that the suspects were complaining of not getting medical attention, but also that they reportedly threw back medicine they were given and demanded lawyers from Somalia.
Mr Tirant said in his report that the suspects get the standard treatment given to all inmates, although upon their arrival the media saw Seychelles topmost – and not ordinary – doctors attending to them.

Seychelles’ primary health care is ranked highest in Africa under the United Nations Human Development Index, which ranks Somalia quite low.

The suspects are being represented by lawyer Anthony Derjacques – who is the president of the Seychelles Bar Association – at government expense.

They had said they want to either represent themselves or be allowed lawyers from Somalia, to which Mr Gaswaga said they were free to do at their own expense but also told them in view of the serious nature of the crimes they are charged with, it is best they accept the high-ranking lawyer they have been offered rather than be unrepresented.

Michael Mulkerrins is prosecuting in the case for the 14, who were arrested by European forces patrolling pirate riddled waters.

The suspects had earlier argued that Seychelles courts have no power to try them as they were caught near Oman, but Mr Gaswaga referred to an earlier case in which he had ruled that the exclusive economic zone of a country comprises international waters except for the purpose of economic exploitation.

Therefore, given Seychelles’ amended laws, the court has jurisdiction in the case.

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