May 24, 2011 12:19
The Somali pirates captured by a Korean special forces unit after they hijacked the merchant vessel Samho Jewelry on January 21 went on trial in a Busan district court on Monday. It is the first-ever piracy trial in Korea.
Arai Mahomed (23), Brallat Aul (18), Ali Abdullah (21) and Ali Abukad-Aeman (21) face eight charges, ranging from kidnapping and theft to assaulting 58-year-old skipper Seok Hae-kyun, and attempted murder. The pirates can face the maximum penalty of death.
The five-day trial is expected to end Friday with a court ruling based on the recommendation of a 12-member jury picked from a total of 500 candidates.
Mindful of the global attention, the Busan district court allowed reporters to take photographs for 30 seconds before the trial began. Journalists from around 50 international news outlets including AP, AFP, Reuters and Bloomberg covered the trial.
But the court barred photos of the judges, prosecutors, jury and four interpreters because of concerns about potential terrorist attacks, while instructing reporters not to show the face of Brallat Aul, who is a minor. A police squadron was stationed around the court house to prevent unrest, and metal detectors were set up just outside the court room to screen visitors and reporters.
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