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Seychelles disapproves of early release of convicted pirates by Somaliland authorities | 02 August 2019

Seychelles has written to express its strong disapproval of the decision of Somaliland authorities to release on Wednesday this week the 19 pirates convicted by Seychelles authorities and who were transferred into the custody of the Somaliland authorities in 2012.

Seychelles has called for the strict observance of the ‘Memorandum of Understanding on Transfer of sentenced pirates between the Government of the Republic of Somaliland and the Republic of Seychelles’ which the two parties formally agreed to in April 2011.

“This decision is clearly in violation of the principles of the MoU,” states a communiqué from the department of Foreign Affairs.

The department further wishes to inform that the unilateral decision by the Somaliland authorities to modify the sentences of the convicted pirates is in breach of the provisions of the MoU which allocates to Seychelles the responsibility for the review of judgment or sentences.

“The early release of the individuals also compromises the agreed arrangements that were strengthened by the signed minutes of the meeting between the Presidents of Seychelles and Somaliland in the margins of the London Conference on Somalia in February 2012,” notes the communiqué.

“The situation consequently stands to annul the co-operation that exists between the parties in relation to the repatriation of sentenced pirates on humanitarian grounds.

“Furthermore, this decision compromises the extensive collective efforts of the international community to combat and suppress piracy off the coast of Somalia in order to guarantee the safety and security of the Western Indian Ocean. It equally stands to erode the mechanisms, including arrest, prosecution and imprisonment that have been put in place to combat the scourge of piracy and other forms of illicit crimes,” adds the communiqué.

The communiqué noted that Seychelles has also written to Mauritius and the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), as the chair of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS), to call on the support of the international community to condemn the early release of the 19 Somali pirates by the Somaliland authorities and to bring the matter to the attention to the secretary general of the United Nations and the United Nations Security Council.

It is to be recalled that the 22nd Plenary session of the CGPCS held on the June 20, 2019, had called for the ‘strict observance of Transfer Agreements’ and the ‘strong opposition in respect of the premature release of convicted pirates’.

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