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Spain judge charges accused Somali pirates

[JURIST] Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon charged two suspected Somali pirates accused of helping take over the Alakrana, a Spanish ship currently under the control of Somali Pirates. The suspects, Abdou Willy and Raagegeesey, were charged [NYT report] with 36 counts of kidnapping as well as armed assault. Neither suspect has admitted to breaking any laws. The two were arrested [Barcelona Reporter report] last week leaving the Alakrana and flown [El Pais report, in Spanish] from East Africa to Madrid. Spanish officials have claimed jurisdiction over the case because Spanish citizens are involved and because the two were arrested outside of the area in which the European Union has agreed [JURIST report] to turn captured pirates over to Kenya. The pirates in control of the Alakrana said Tuesday that they would not relinquish control [El Pais report] of the ship until the two accused pirates are released.

A study released in July found that acts of piracy doubled [JURIST report] in the first six months of this year from the same period in 2008. In May, five suspected Somali pirates went on trial [JURIST report] in Holland, accused of attempting to hijack [NRC Handelsblad report] a Dutch Antilles freighter in the Gulf of Aden. In April, a US Coast Guard chief called for the enforcement of international piracy laws [JURIST report], citing the importance of entering Somali waters to combat the problem. Last October, the UN Security Council unanimously approved Resolution 1838 [text, PDF; press release], condemning all acts of piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia, and calling on states to "deploy naval vessels and military aircraft to actively fight piracy on the high seas off the coast of Somalia." Although maritime piracy is increasingly widespread, Somalia's coast has been ranked as the most dangerous in the world [BBC report] due to a surge in attacks on ships carrying traded goods or humanitarian aid [NPR report].

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