6 pirates on trial in Paris, a first in France

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

PARIS (AP) — Six Somali men have gone on trial in a Paris court on charges of hijacking a sailboat in 2008 and capturing the husband-and-wife team on the craft in hope of receiving a multimillion dollar ransom.

The trial, which opened Tuesday, is the first in France to judge alleged pirates, who have made a lucrative business of capturing foreign vessels around the Gulf of Aden and elsewhere.

In this case, French navy commandos raided the vessel and captured six of the estimated 20 pirates, bringing them to France for judgment. Aged 20 to 36, they described themselves variously as fisherman, electricians, students or jobless.

The two skippers, who live in French Polynesia, were not present for the trial, expected to last at least until the end of the month.

(Copyright 2011, The Associated Press)

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