‘Anti-piracy efforts scotched by human rights of sea pirates’

November 2nd, 2008 - 7:09 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Nov 2 (IANS) International efforts to end the scourge of sea piracy may be hampered because pirates could plead their human rights, according to a report Sunday.”In the old days, when the navy would catch a pirate, they would tie his hands and feet and throw him back in the sea,” said Captain Andres Breijo, the Spanish head of a new anti-piracy mission, in an interview with The Sunday Telegraph.

“Now they have human rights,” he added in comments made ahead of the arrival next month of the European Union’s first naval task force in the Gulf of Aden to combat mounting piracy.

Ten EU countries, including Britain, have pledged to fight piracy, which is fuelled by a demand for weapons in lawless Somalia.

Capt Beijo said Somalia is a “failed state”, and the West fears that if the pirates were handed over to Somali authorities they would be tortured or executed.

Instead, his task force will only be permitted to keep a protective watch over merchant ships in the Gulf of Aden, where heavily armed pirates have hijacked dozens of ships this year, including a Ukrainian vessel carrying battle tanks.

The newspaper said the Danish navy set free a crew of 10 pirates in September after deciding they would not be successfully prosecuted if brought back to Europe.

The Royal Navy unofficially admits that it is under similar instructions, the paper reported.

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