Somali pirates could face S Korea trial: Report

Five Somali pirates captured by the South Korean navy during a mission to rescue a hijacked ship may be taken to South Korea for a trial there, a report said.

Seoul: Five Somali pirates captured by
the South Korean navy during a mission to rescue a hijacked
ship may be taken to South Korea for a trial there, a report
said on Sunday.

Seoul has started legal reviews to try the five
Somalis as African countries refuse to try them in their own
courts, Yonhap news agency reported, citing an unnamed senior
official.

"Our stance is taking a strong legal action in any
forms considering the significance of the issue... we have no
legal problems punishing them based on international maritime
laws," said the official quoted by Yonhap.

South Korean navy commandos on Friday stormed the
Samho Jewelry, a 11,500-ton freighter hijacked on January 15
in the Arabian Sea, and rescued all 21 crew members -- eight
South Koreans, two Indonesians and 11 from Myanmar.

Eight pirates were killed and five seized.

Neighbouring African countries such as Kenya have
often tried seized pirates from Somalia in their own courts.

But Nairobi said last year it would stop the practice,
urging the international community to share the burden of
prosecuting and imprisoning pirates.

"Many neighbouring countries have expressed a
reluctance to accept our request (to prosecute the pirates),"
Yonhap quoted the official as saying.

The final decision on the captured pirates will be
made as early as Wednesday when the freed ship, escorted by a
South Korean naval destroyer, arrives at the Omani port of
Muscat, it said.

South Korea`s foreign ministry spokesman was not
available for comment.

PTI