Somali pirates sue German government

April 16, 2009 at 3:18 PM

BERLIN, April 16 (UPI) -- Two alleged Somali pirates are suing the German government for what their attorneys claim has been inhumane treatment.

The pirates were captured last month by German navy troops after they had allegedly tried to seize a freighter.

Their lawyers said they were not part of the group that attacked the freighter but instead were sailing to Yemen to sell arms, the German daily Berliner Zeitung reports.

Oliver Wallasch, the lawyer of one defendant, said the German government has ignored this for the sake of a victory in its anti-piracy fight off the coast of Somalia.

The alleged pirates have since been transferred to Kenya to be tried there under a judicial agreement between Mogadishu and the European Union. Several EU member states have manned an international anti-piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden.

Wallasch said his client was seeking some $13,000 in damages from the German government before a Berlin regional court because his client was transferred to a Kenyan prison and is suffering from inhumane treatment there.

Andreas Schulz, the attorney of the second defendant, wants the German government to pay for legal representation in Kenya.

Because of the pirates' unclear legal situation in Kenya, more and more German politicians are now calling for the creation of an international piracy court that could deal with detained pirates.

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