Murphy's Law: Catch And Release


February 3, 2012:  The anti-piracy patrol off Somalia has captured and prosecuted about 800 pirates so far. But more than five times that number have been captured and released. More prisons are being built in Somaliland and Puntland but these must be paid for and supervised by Western nations if they are to be effective. The key problem is that most nations contributing ships to the anti-piracy patrol are not willing to prosecute and imprison Somali pirates. This led to the "catch and release" method used by most European navies, mainly because the legal systems back home makes it difficult for the pirates to be prosecuted and easy for the pirates to claim asylum if brought back.

Kenya is being paid, by Western nations, to try and jail Somali pirates but they always want more money. It's a shakedown, as Kenya is getting a lot of money for this, and much of it is being stolen by Kenyan politicians. Corruption is rampant in the region, with Somalia considered the most corrupt nation on the planet, with Kenya catching up fast.

The Seychelles (a small island nation in the Indian Ocean) is also prosecuting and jailing some Somali pirates but is far smaller than Kenya (which has about 200 pirates among the 53,000 convicts in its prisons and jails). So most of the pirates arrested are simply disarmed and let go. This happens because Western nations, because of their vague laws on piracy, cannot prosecute them and Kenya and Seychelles has limited capacity to do so. Somaliland and Puntland will also prosecute, if expenses are covered by Western nations. But because there are not enough jail cells available in Somaliland and Puntland few prosecutions are possible. More prisons are being built but this takes time. About half the imprisoned pirates are in Somaliland and Puntland.

Thus the judicial system is not providing much of deterrent to would-be pirates, and getting captured means, in most cases, losing your weapons and being taken back to Somalia and left on a beach.


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