Yemeni Court Jails 3 Somali Pirates

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A court in southeast Yemen on Saturday jailed three Somali pirates for 10 years each after convicting them of hijacking boats in the Gulf of Aden, Saba state news agency said.

The defendants went on trial in 2011 after being charged with hijacking a Yemeni fishing boat and a foreign yacht with the aim of using the Yemeni vessel to carry out piracy attacks, Saba said.

The judge also ordered the defendants to pay the owner of the boat 750,000 rials ($3,492) in compensation for the amount he fished on the day of the attack and for the 15 days they held him captive, Saba said.

Heavily armed pirates using high-powered speedboats have operated in the Gulf of Aden for several years, preying on ships and sometimes holding them for weeks before releasing them for large ransoms paid by governments or ship owners.

But the number of attacks diminished after an international deployment of warships to patrol the coast of the Horn of Africa.

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