SEYCHELLES AND SOMALILAND TAKING STEPS TOWARDS PRISONER TRANSFERS
Seychelles President James Michel and President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo of the Republic of Somaliland have discussed, in a meeting in London today, the transfer of convicted Somali pirates currently in prison in Seychelles, to Somaliland to serve their sentences.
The meeting was attended by the British Minister for Africa, Henry Bellingham, Seychelles Minister Home Affairs, Environment, Transport and Energy, Joel Morgan, Seychelles Minister for Foreign Affairs ,Jean-Paul Adam, and the British High Commissioner to Seychelles, Matthew Forbes, the Somaliland Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr Mohamed Andillahi Omar, as well as the UNODC Counter-Piracy Programme Coordinator Alan Cole.
The two leaders signed a joint statement to recognize their joint concern about the serious impact piracy has on the region and on international security, and agreed that it is vital to ensure pirates are brought to justice.
President Silanyo confirmed that both the Council of Ministers and Somaliland Parliament had now approved and passed the piracy and prisoner transfer legislation to allow the transfer of convicted pirates.
“This commitment between the Seychelles and Somaliland represents an important step forward in the development of a sustainable regional justice mechanism, that will see suspected pirates apprehended by naval forces at sea, prosecuted by regional states, and if convicted, imprisoned in the region,” said the statement from the two leaders.
President Michel and President Silanyo have also committed to securing the first transfer of 19 convicted pirates from Seychelles to Somaliland by the end of March 2012, in accordance with a Memorandum of Understanding agreed between the Republic of Somaliland and the Government of Seychelles, and based on Somaliland’s prison capacity in dealing with pirate transfers.
“ Somaliland is an important partner in the fight against piracy as it remains a pirate-free area of stability. We commend the Somaliland government for achieving this stability and for its efforts to share the burden of incarcerating the pirates,” said President Michel following the meeting.