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Germany jails Somalis in piracy case

Ten Somalis have been convicted Friday in Germany’s first piracy case for centuries.

The state court in Hamburg on Friday sentenced the 10 men to jail terms of between two and seven years.

The accused were arrested by the Dutch navy in 2010 after they took over the German container ship Taipan off the coast of Somalia. The men were subsequently extradited.

Prosecutors had called for sentences of four to 12 years in the case, which was under way for almost two years.

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Coast of Somalia still fraught with danger

Under German law, terms of up to 15 years could have been imposed.

Dwindling attacks

Members of the 15-strong crew of the Taipan had survived by hiding in a panic room before the Dutch forces arrived.

The trial was surrounded by complications, with confusion over the Somalis' full names and exact ages. The men are believed to be between 19 and 50 years old.

Successful pirate attacks on commercial vessels sailing off the Horn of Africa have fallen off after a sudden rise at the start of the last decade.

Recent figures from the European Union Naval Force Somalia, Operation Atalanta, found that there were 28 attacks in the first half of 2011, but only three in the second half and just five since this January.

rc/mkg   (AFP, dapd, Reuters)

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