11 September 2011

The expert on everything

A quick court report from 2 September

It was Stieg Hansen, the Norwegian expert's, last day giving evidence. He spoke about what he believed was the definition of a 'pirate'; attacks on commercial fishing vessels versus attacks on illegal fishing boats; he spoke about some of the Somali people charged with piracy that he had interviewed in Somalia; the Somali court system and the arrest of 'pirates' there; he spoke about the clan systems and al-Shabaab and international terrorist lists, and he ended with names of people who have studied the effect of trauma on Somali people. He was an 'expert' on everything.

Twice he was caught out exaggerating.

The first time he spoke about having court transcriptions of a case against a 'pirate' in Somalia. However, later on he admitted that in fact what he had was only notes made by a former Somaliland Times journalist. Not a transcript.

The second time, he talked about meeting with Donna Hopkirk, the US State Department's Coordinator for Counter Piracy. Later, it turned out he had merely spoken with her in passing over a cup of tea at a conference in Norway.

As to the international terrorist lists, he pointed out that the UK, for instance, is concerned about linking Somali 'pirates' with al Shabaab. If they are linked, it could have ramifications for international shipping, Once a ransom was paid there could then be accusations of funding terrorism.

The next court date is 26 September.