Ascertain the ages of pirates, Mumbai court tells police

A local court here on Friday directed the police to "collect the age proofs" of seven alleged Somali pirates, saying that they appeared to be under-18.

Updated: Feb 11, 2011, 23:12 PM IST

Mumbai: A local court here on Friday directed
the police to "collect the age proofs" of seven alleged Somali
pirates, saying that they appeared to be under-18.

Yellow Gate police here today produced 28 pirates -- who
were caught by Indian Navy and the Coast Guard off
Lakshadweep Islands on February 6 -- in the magistrate`s
court.

Court remanded them to police custody till February 14.
Police told the court they wanted to verify nationalities
of the accused, though all of them were claiming to be
Somalians.

Interrogation was also necessary to find out who was
their leader, and who were the key members of the group, the
prosecution said.

The alleged pirates, who don`t understand English, were
asked by the Public Prosecutor in sign language if they had
any complaints against the police; all the accused indicated
they had none.

Quaiser Khalid, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Port
Zone), told reporters police will have to make a `panchnama`
(crime site report) by going to Lakshadweep. Khalid also said
that translators were not readily available and police had
contacted the African Studies Department of Mumbai University
for help.

"We have also contacted the Somalian Embassy, but it has
not got back to us," Khalid said.

Khalid also said that police have invoked the stringent
Unlawful Activities Prevention Act against the Pirates.

The Act will be also used against the group of 15
pirates who were apprehended earlier, in the same area.

Khalid said that in the complaint lodged with the Yellow
Gate police, the DIG Coast Guard and Commander of the ship
`ICGS Samar` had said that the pirates` activities had
affected the "supply routes" in the Arabian sea.

The DCP also said that pirates had used the satellite
phone belonging to the Thai ship crew, who had been taken
hostage, and police were obtaining the call details.

PTI