30 January 2012

Trial is coming to a close

After the prosecution held its cynical and racist closing address last week, the trial seems to be finally coming to a close. Next, the defence lawyers will deliver their closing addresses. Depending on their length, this may only take a few more hearings.

The defendants are mostly in a state of shock. They have lost all trust in the German 'justice system' that took advantage of their willingness to make statements. They believed that if they made honest statements, the court would give them credit for that. Instead, they had to experience how every single word they said was turned against them and used by the prosecution as an argument for an even harsher prison sentence.

Come and support the prisoners by your presence during the final court days. The next dates are:

Wednesday, 1 February, 8 am
Friday, 10 February, 8 am
Wednesday, 15 February, 8 am

26 January 2012

Prosecution is more cynical than we imagined

During her two hour long closing address, state prosecutor Friederike Dopke demanded long prison sentences for all the  
for the Prosecutor the "expert" age determination are more valid than the somali birth certificate or the letter of the mother confirming his age.
defendants today. For most of the adult defendants, she demanded 10 years, for one she demanded 7 years because of his 'good conduct' during the trial, and for one defendant she demanded 11 years. For the three juvenile defendants, she demanded 
four years, five years and five years and six months. 

We can't say that we are surprised about this. All the way through the trial, the prosecution has made it clear that they are not 
willing to believe anything the defendants say. The prosecution objected to hearing any defence witnesses and they objected to 
any application the defence made. They made absolutely no effort to investigate the circumstances that may have led the 
defendants to attack the Taipan. We had the impression all along that the closing address was written before the trial had 

What did surprise us, however is the cynicism displayed in the reasoning for the long sentences for the under-age defendants 
(one of whom produced a birth certificate showing that he was only 13 at the time of the alleged offence, but the Prosecution prefers to believe the German "Expert" in Age determination who decided that he is older than what his mother says)): only by being 
imprisoned in Germany for a along period of time could they receive some education! The situation in Somalia didn't allow for 
this. This statement, which also shows a staggering degree of racism, is particularly cynical because throughout their two year 
long imprisonment in Hamburg, the teenagers have received almost no German language lessons, despite an offer of free 
lessons from a teacher. This offer was declined by the prison management on the basis of equal opportunity: if the Somali 
inmates were to receive these language lessons, then all other inmates would also be entitled. With this in mind, it is easy to 
imagine how  the three might be denied entry to any courses the prison might offer - due to their lack of German language skills. 
trying to avoid getting  fotografed against your will

25 January 2012

Prosecution delivers closing address

Today, the prosecution delivered their closing address, which took two and a half hours. The result in short is that they demand sentences of between 7 years and 11 years, 6 months for the adult defendants and between 4 years and 5 years, 6 months for the under-age defendants. More information will follow.

The figures. Damages suffered by the ship owners:
(including compensation paid to traumatised crew members) 1.06 million Euro

the acused should  alltogether stay in prison for 81 years! 

The scheduled hearing tomorrow, 26 January, is cancelled.

24 January 2012

The “Piracy Trial” in Hamburg – part of European war logic

Translation of an article written by one of the trial observers.

“The prosecution of alleged pirates is an important, deterring part of the actions against piracy” the web site of the German foreign office states under the heading of the EU anti-piracy mission 'Atalanta'. Since November 2010, ten Somali have been standing trial in Hamburg, three of them under-age, having the mentioned deterrence performed on them.

This is the first trial of its kind in Germany. The “alleged pirates” have been remanded in custody for two years and eight months – at first for a week on the Dutch frigate 'Tromp', chained to the deck and subject to dubious interrogations by the military intelligence service, then in a Dutch jail and then in pretrial custody for 17 months. The teenagers are held in the juvenile detention centre 'Hahnöversand', the others in Hamburg's remand prison.

For the court hearings, the under-age defendants are driven across town in a prison van, their hands and feet tied, where they join the others in an underground cell. From there they are brought to the court room, each by one guard. The press sits in the actual court room, the public – whose interest is waning - remains behind a glass wall.

23 January 2012

Statement by one of the accused on day 70.

"I have a question, Mr. Judge. I was born in Somalia. I was brought here to Germany, we are now in Germany. I don't know my way around here. I don't know what justice is like here. Do you only represent Germans? Everyone should have their rights. Before I say anything, I want to know: is there justice here at all?

I have stated several times that I am not a pirate, but a simple fisherman. I was beaten, injured, almost killed. The Dutch navy recorded all this. Why is this not mentioned here at all? I told the Dutch that I am not a pirate and they believed me. In Holland, they took photos of my injuries – why weren't they considered?

I asked the court to send for the records, but you said no. I don't care about military secrets. The injuries have healed partially now, but they are still visible. I don't understand – everything is one-sided here.

I have a question to you: are you married, do you have a wife? Do you know about every phone call your wife makes? Do you know all the numbers?

I can prove everything, but I believe you don't want to know. Back then, when the Dutch took us for 800 miles, they did with us whatever they wanted. They were stronger.

You accused me of not being credible, that I had betrayed my wife. You are not credible by accusing me of that. You know nothing about my culture and you accuse me of not being credible. You should go to Somalia. I am very angry that you are accusing me of not being credible."

(The judge replied that he won't answer personal questions and referred the accused to the closing statements).

Day 70 - 20 January 2012- "Is the German court system only for Germans?"

Still more telephone numbers. The judge tried hard to establish a conspiracy, while those accused who still say anything - most of them are refusing now because they have lost all trust in the court - explained that these are the numbers of their families.

One of the accused asked the judge whether justice was only to be had for Germans in a German court.

The day ended with the judge declaring the end of the trial and that the prosecutor will hold his closing address at the next hearing on Wednesday, 25 January.

Day 69 - 17 January 2012- The court wants to see our country through German eyes.

Day 69 - 17 January 2012
More phone numbers keep the court busy. All the misterious numbers

turn out to be the numbers of the accused and their families.

Then a remonstrance by one of the accused:

"I had a lot of trust in the the German court.In Germany, this is totally different from Somalia. I trusted my lawyer and believed that the court would treat every thing I say carefully. That the court would take me seriously and not portray me as a liar. That is why I told the court my story. I never thought that the details would be used against me. I was very nervous. Everything was new to me: flying in a plane over foreign countries, food I had not known before. Also, I didn't want to incriminate my fellow countrymen. It is hard enough to be in prison. Everyone should say what they have to say and be responsible for their story. The court has tried to portray everything I have said in two days, and all the answers to the questions as lies. I have lost all trust in you! I was nervous. In Somalia, everything is different from the way it is in other countries. But the court wants to see our country through German eyes. When I hear that the court believes that it is better to be imprisoned here than to be free in Somalia, then this becomes very clear."

Day 68 - 16 January 2012

Day 68 - 16 January 2012

The proceedings are getting more and more bizarre. The judge spent considerable time reading out 84 telephone numbers that were stored in the mobile phones which the accused had with them when they were handed over to the German authorities by the Dutch marines. Probably the first phone book that was created by a German court.

First the judge added another page to the special file 'Applications Declined'. This time it was a challenge from the defence on the grounds that it had come to light that the court had been informing the German Federal Criminal Office BKA, the Federal Police and the ship owners (who all have or had observers in the trial)of changes to court dates and times - whereas other observers were not informed. These observers were given reserved seats in the court room because the court had expected a lot of public interest. To the defence, this is shows a bias towards the prosecution. However, the judges who rule on these matters saw nothing wrong with it.

Then the judge spent hours reading out phones numbers that were extracted from mobile phones, obviously in order to create connections between the accused.
One of the accused states that he will no longer answer any questions by the judge because he has lost all confidence in the proceedings.

18 January 2012

69 Trial day - 16.1.12

I am afraid Mr.Judge that you are scared to find out the truth.

17 January 2012

New Trial Dates up to the end of March!

New trial dates have been set - leading to the end of March. Also the hearings in February and March will start at 8 am!

February 2012 
Wed, 01.02.                
Fri, 10.02.
Wed, 15.02.
Mon, 20.02.
Wed, 29.02.
Wed, 01.02.

March 2012
Thu, 01.03.
Mon, 19.03.
Fri, 23.03.
Mon, 26.03.
Fri, 30.03.

68 Trial day

today also the watches where going backwards, while for hours and hours the judge read out 84 telephone numbers found in the mobiles phones. It is probably the first Somali telephone book produced by a German court.

Probably also the dial keys on the phone where backwards, only no-one noticed it.
Among the 84 telephone numbers where some written from right to left, which made the court believe that it was for conspiray reasons. The accused explained that he writes arabic from right to left, also the numbers.

03 January 2012

Easier to swallow...

... than the words of the judge with the same name is a sip of this mirabelle liqueur. Maybe it also helps to forget the 65 trial days and the fact that pretty much every single application from the defence has been rejected by the judge.

We wish for the accused that this "first world" trial will soon come to an end and that the court will acknowledge the circumstances that led to the alleged hijacking of the Taipan, as the judge said he would during the last court hearing.

The next court date is Thursday, 5 January.