[JURIST] A Spanish court on Wednesday convicted six men of piracy and sentenced one of them to 12-and-a-half years and the other to five to eight years in prison. The men, Mohamed Abdullah Hassan, Mohamed Aden Mohamed, Issa Abdullah Issa, Abdillahi Mohamed Gouled, Mohamed Said Ahmed and Hamoud Elfaf Mahou, were captured while attempting to take over a Spanish warship off the coast of Somalia in 2012. They claimed [BBC report] that they were fishermen who merely sought help. After exchange of fire, the men surrendered and Spanish authorities found them armed with assault rifles and grenades. One of the individuals was subject to a harsher sentence because of his association to a criminal organization.
A number of countries around the world have taken actions in the attempt to solve the problem of maritime piracy [JURIST news archive]. Earlier this month three Somali pirates accused of hijacking [JURIST report] a private yacht off the coast of Somalia in 2009 went on trial in France. In August a jury in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia [official website] convicted [JURIST report] three Somali men of hijacking a boat and killing four Americans in 2011 off the coast of Somalia. In February the Abu Dhabi Federal Appeal Court upheld the sentences [JURIST report] of 10 Somali pirates convicted of highjacking a UAE-owned bulk-carrier ship in April 2011. In October 2012 the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court of Hamburg [official website, in German] issued sentences [JURIST report] for 10 Somalis who were involved in the hijacking the German freighter MS Taipan off the coast of Somalia two years ago.