Russia slammed over pirate handling

Russia slammed over pirate handling
# 16 May 2010 02:46 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. Somalia has demanded Russia to explain a move by its navy to set 10 Somali pirates adrift without giving them navigation equipment, APA reports quoting website.

Last week, Russian forces attacked a hijacked oil tanker in a rescue operation that left one pirate dead. Russia said 10 others were arrested but were later set loose in the Gulf of Aden aboard one of the small vessels used in the raid.

A military source later said that the pirates, stripped of their weapons and navigation equipment, were now likely dead, Russian media reported.

“If they were actually set adrift with insufficient supply, at a range of 300 nautical miles from the shore, then Russia once again failed in its positive duty to prevent foreseeable loss of life,” Abdirasak Aden, an official at Somalia’s Information Ministry told Reuters.

The official acknowledged that the victims were “gangs” but insisted that “dumping them in international waters was not the only choice” because they had the right to a fair trial. “We want an explanation from Russia on the death of our citizens,” Aden urged.

Russian officials said last week the pirates were released because there were no grounds to prosecute them in Russia.

The UN Security Council unanimously passed a Russian-drafted resolution last month that suggested creating special pirate courts. It also expressed concern that such cases were a failure that “undermines anti-piracy efforts of the international community.”

Thirty-five international warships are patrolling the lawless waters off Somalia and the Gulf of Aden which remain the hotbed of mounting attacks on passing ships.

According to the International Maritime Bureau, more than half of piracy incident reported in 2009 were carried out by Somali pirates, who managed to successfully hijack 47 vessels.
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