Three suspected Somali pirates have been acquitted by the Seychelles Court of Appeal with the court ordering pirates’ repatriation, Seychelles News Agency reports.
The ruling overturned a previous decision by the nation’s Supreme Court due to lack of evidence to prove the said individuals were indeed pirates.
Two of the three men were appealing against their 21 year sentence while the third one, a juvenile aged 16 was appealing against his 14 year sentence, the news agency informed.
The acquitted men were apprehended in January 2012 by a EU naval vessel off the Horn of Africa as part of a group of 25 suspected pirates.
During the operation the navy vessel forced the pirate group to release an Indian dhow with 15 Indian mariners held as hostages.
The EU signed a transfer agreement with the Republic of Seychelles in December 2009 aimed at the fight against piracy.
Ever since the Seychelles have assumed a major a role in achieving a legal finish against pirates in the region being considerably affected by piracy in the regional waters.
Based on October statistics from the Seychelles Prison Service, a total of 41 Somali pirates were still being held at the Seychelles Prison at Montagne Posee, 25 pirates being already sentenced and the remaining 16 still awaiting trial.
World Maritime News Staff; Image: EUNAVFOR