| Seychelles signs historic accord on transfer of jailed Somali pirates - 12.02.2011
Seychelles has signed agreements relating to the return of Somali prisoners to their homes to serve the rest of their prison sentences.
Exchanging documents after the signing
The agreements were signed on Wednesday evening by the Minister for Home Affairs and the chair of the high-level committee on piracy, Joel Morgan.
The signing was the result of talks held over three days with Somali representatives from Puntland, Somaliland and the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and facilitated by Ambassador Thomas Winkler of Denmark, who is the chairman of working group 2 on legal issues for the contact group on piracy off the coast of Somalia (CGPCS).
The agreements include a Prisoner Transfer accord with the Minister for Justice of the TFG, Abdullahi Abyan Nuur, and two memorandums of understanding by the Puntland and Somaliland Justice minister, Absi Khalkif Hassan and Ismail Aar, declaring their intent to establish Prisoner Transfer Agreements following consultations with their respective governments.
The two ministers said they are hopeful that the final agreement will be signed at the next meeting of the working group 2 on legal issues for the contact group on piracy due to take place in Copenhagen in March this year.
In a press conference following the signing, Minister Morgan hailed the agreements as a historic landmark in the collaborations between Seychelles and Somalia.
“This is a very important milestone and a great achievement in our efforts to combat piracy.
“It is the first such agreement signed with any state which allows for the repatriation of convicted Somali pirates back to their country where they can be close to their families and be imprisoned for the remainder of their sentences,” said Minister Morgan.
“The government of Seychelles is fully committed to supporting the state of Somalia and the restoration of law, order and peace... This agreement shows our full commitment to combating piracy.”
The minister added that the problem of piracy and of Somalia is a problem not only for the region but also for the whole international community.
The Justice ministers all spoke equally of their commitment to working with the Seychelles government and combating the crimes of piracy and to eventually establishing peace and stability in Somalia.
During the talks, the three Somali delegations also took the opportunity to visit the Somali prisoners currently in jail at Montagne Posee.