Belgium authorities arrest accused Somali pirate leader

[JURIST] Belgian authorities announced on Monday that suspected Somali pirate leader Mohammed Abdi Hassan was detained by authorities at the Brussels Airport [corporate website] on Saturday. Thought to be responsible for numerous vessel hijackings, Belgian prosecutors have been seeking Abdi Hassan, also known as "Big Mouth," for some time. However, as Abdi Hassan rarely traveled, authorities were unable to arrest him, and felt that an international arrest warrant would produce little result. In order to lure the pirate leader out of Somalia, authorities posed undercover to request his services as an expert adviser for a fake piracy documentary, which was to be modeled after his own experiences. Abdi Hassan flew into Brussels in order to sign film contracts, but was instead arrested as soon as the plane touched down. His traveling companion, accomplice Mohamed Aden Tiiceey, was also arrested. Both Abdi Hassan and Tiiceey face kidnapping and hijacking charges stemming from 2009, when they allegedly held a Belgian dredging ship captive [BBC report] for more than 70 days, only releasing the crew after receiving a large ransom.

Various tribunals have attempted to prosecute Somali pirates [JURIST news archive]. A jury for the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia [official website] recommended [JURIST report] in August that three Somali pirates convicted [JURIST report] of murdering four Americans receive life in prison sentences. In February the Abu Dhabi Federal Appeals Court upheld [JURIST report] the sentences of 10 Somali pirates convicted of highjacking a UAE-owned bulk-carrier ship. Last October the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court of Hamburg issued sentences [JURIST report] for 10 Somalis who were involved in the hijacking the German freighter MS Taipan off the coast of Somalia. Last October an appeals court in Kenya ruled [JURIST report] that Kenyan courts have jurisdiction to try international piracy suspects.

 

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