05 June 2012

Court Report Day 89 – 04 June 2012

Today, an officer of the German Federal Criminal Office (BKA) gave evidence. The officer had spoken with the Indian journalist R., who had given evidence the week before. They had spoken about the interview R. had made with the crew of the dhow Hudhud. The officer had taken notes of the conversation – however, he had to admit that the notes were taken several days later, and after having had a talk with the officer who was in charge of the investigations around the Taipan.

The officer named the person, whose family had possibly been involved in organising the attack on the Taipan – the journalist had refrained from doing so.

The judge tried to ascertain whether the notes were reflecting what R. had told the officer, or what the Indian crew had told R., but that didn't really become clear. The officer did, however, confirm that the crew had stated that they found it scandalous that the three youngest accused were allowed to go to school in Hamburg. This information had been reported in the papers, but R. had refuted it.

Then the statements that the Indian crew had made with the police in Salaya were read. Two of them had said that they were seafarers, uneducated, they had to work and were not willing to travel to another country to make statements. A third one had made more detailed statements. He had described how the dhow had been carrying cargo when 16 pirates came on board. They had attacked a container ship, but a navy helicopter approached. The pirates had threatened to kill the crew, should the helicopter come any closer, so the helicopter had left. Then they were held on land for 20 to 30 days, before setting off for Oman with 16 pirates on board. They were finally released, after the pirates had attacked another ship.

After that, the judge announced that the video which the journalist had taken in India would not be shown today, because the court had had problems finding a version that would play on the court equipment. It would be shown on Wednesday, first in chambers and then to the public.

Finally, a few notices. Regarding the question of whether the accused X had been captured and processed by the French navy, the judge said that the German police had no information, but that the fingerprints had not been checked yet.

Regarding the Greek freighter 'Saldana' (sailing under Maltese flag), which, according to a defence lawyer, had been successfully captured in 2009 by the 'crown witness' X, the judge had some interesting results. The German Federal Criminal Office BKA had asked their office in Rome to inquire with a newly established Maltese police unit, whether they had found fingerprints of X. However, it turned out that the Rome office had not forwarded the request, in order to avoid 'irritations' with the new Maltese police unit. The questions of why on earth this request had to go via the Rome office of the BKA, why the Greek owner of the ship hadn't been contacted, and why the court simply accepts this outright refusal of the BKA to co-operate, remain unanswered.