The Danish Armed Forces have released three suspected pirates into Nigerian waters after failing to find a country in the West African region, which will take the alleged criminals.
The three were part of some pirates who had allegedly attacked a container ship in the Gulf of Guinea on November 24, 2021, but were captured after a fatal firefight in which four of the attackers were killed.
A fifth person was said to have fallen overboard and probably drowned.
Four people were arrested and detained, however, one of the suspects was taken to Ghana were his legs were amputated. He has been transferred to Denmark where he would stand charges of attempted manslaughter.
The remaining three were held on a Danish warship for six weeks, but after failing to find a country which would take the alleged pirates, the Danish Armed Forces decided to release the men near Nigerian waters, with enough food and fuel to get to shore.
They were accused of attacking the Danish soldiers first – something they deny. Already charges against the three had been dropped, according to their lawyers.
The Danish Justice Ministry said the amputated suspect could not be safely released at sea hence the decision to move him to Denmark. But his lawyer, Birgitte Skjodt, slammed the decision to still press charges against him, saying, “It simply cannot be right to treat the four people so unequally.”
According to Denmark’s justice minister, Nick Haekkerup, the decision would discourage other pirates from attacking. He added that if the men had been sent to Denmark, there was a “risk that they wouldn’t later be deported”.
The extradition to Denmark of a pirate suspect is a first. The country does not have any extradition agreements with nations that border the Gulf of Guinea.
Over the years, the Gulf of Guinea – which has tankers carrying oil and gas – has been known as a piracy hotspot.
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