Somali pirate’s life sentence upheldA Busan appeals court yesterday sentenced a Somali pirate to life in prison after he was convicted of hijacking a Korean ship and shooting its captain earlier this year, upholding a lower court ruling.
Mahomed Arai, 23, received the same sentence from the Busan District Court in May for attempting to murder the ship’s Korean captain, Seok Hae-kyun. Prosecutors have consistently demanded the death penalty for Arai.
“Arai deserves the death penalty or life imprisonment since he shot Capt. Seok, leaving him with what could have been a fatal wound,” Choi In-seok, senior judge of the Busan High Court, said in a verdict.
“But his case is not tantamount to one requiring the death sentence, taking into consideration the fact that eight pirates were killed in the operation to rescue the ship, as well as Seok’s dramatic recovery.”
Arai was one of the five pirates captured during a Jan. 21 commando operation by Korea’s Navy to rescue the Korean chemical carrier, the Samho Jewelry, in the Arabian Sea. Eight other pirates were killed in the operation.
The captured pirates were brought to Busan, the home port of the Samho Jewelry, for trial. The ship’s captain was seriously wounded by shots apparently fired by one of the pirates during the raid, but the ship’s 21 other crew members, eight of them Korean, were rescued unharmed.
The appeals court also upheld the lower court’s heavy sentences for three other pirates - 15 years in jail for Aul Brallat and 13 year prison terms for Abdikhad Iman Ali and Abdullah Ali - for their role in hijacking the ship.
The court, however, reduced the lower court’s sentence for one pirate, Abdulahi Husseen Maxamuud, from 15 years in prison to 12. He was convicted of hijacking the ship and maritime robbery.