25 September 2012

Court Report Day 101 – 19 September 2012

The closing address of the second lawyer for one of the under-age defendants which was started at the last date, was continued. The lawyer argued that his client had acted out of pure necessity to survive. He had been seriously under-weight when he arrived in Hamburg. A prison sentence would be reflective of colonial justice which only served the interests of the ship owners.

Next was the defence for the accused who had been named as the alleged leader by the 'crown witness'. They followed up on the previous address by accusing the court of having this trial in order to protect the shipping routes for German merchants. They also raised the question of what purpose a sentence was supposed to serve. They pointed to a fracture in the trial, which according to them had occurred after the Norwegian expert witness Hansen had been heard. From then on the court had refused to approve any witnesses for the defence and had only seemed to be interested in closing the case. The court's refusal to hear a witness from Somalia had been justified with excuses such as that the time frame for a visa application had been unclear or that it was not known whether the witness had been vaccinated.
It was a special trial because it pitched the power and wealth of one side against the poverty of the other side. Terms such as justice had lost their meaning wince there was no justice in Somalia and no free will.

They then re-iterated their client's vita, how he had wanted to set up a school, had borrowed money but then was suddenly threatened if he didn't pay it back immediately. He was forced at gun point to either repay the money on the spot or join the attack on the Taipan.

Then the defence for another accused, who had stated that he had been under the influence f drugs when he had entered the dhow held their closing address. They drew attention to the civil war that had been raging in Somalia and the famine, exacerbated by the illegal fishing and dumping of toxic waste. Their client had been forced to participate while he was under drugs. They also applied to have a witness from Romania heard, who had been a crew member on a ship that had been hijacked for 63 days and who could confirm that the 'crown witness' had participated in that hijacking. This would prove that the 'crown witness' had been lying and therefore the allegations against their client were without base.

The closing addresses will continue on Thursday, 27 September and Friday, 28 September. The final  words of the accused could then be heard on 15 October and the verdict could be passed on either 17 October or 19 October.