Catch And Release

Seven pirates freed over legal technicality

Seven pirates who were captured after a chase by NATO, U.S. and Canadian forces have been freed because a country cannot hold and prosecute them if an attack is not against one of their own vessels, the Associated Press reports.

The release followed a dramatic, hours-long pursuit Sunday of the pirates, who were trying to hijack a Norwegian-flagged tanker in the Gulf of Aden.

NATO forces disarmed and interrogated the bandits, then freed them, citing legal issues over arresting them, the AP says. Lt Cmdr. Alexandre Santos Fernandes, a spokesman for the NATO alliance, says the pirates were released because Canadian law did not allow their prosecution if they committed no crimes against Canadians or on Canadian soil.

The United States and the Netherlands say they will seek authority for NATO to arrest pirates operating off the coast of Somalia, the Associated Press reports. In a joint news conference with the Dutch foreign minister, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the two countries will raise the issue soon with NATO. She says releasing pirates “sends the wrong signal.”

See also:
NATO frees pirate hostages, Belgian ship seized
Arrr! Pirates Freed in Legal Snafu
Pirates attack tanker; NATO frees 20 fishermen
NATO forces foil pirate attack on tanker
Clinton sees NATO release of pirates sending wrong signal
High time for piracy tribunal, experts say
Lack of legal system thwarting anti-piracy efforts

So, they’re sailing around chasing down pirates but they don’t have the authority to arrest them? Who’s brilliant idea was that? Now they’re going to seek arrest authority?

/gee, you’d think someone would have thought about this minor detail already