Apr 12 2009
THE ROYAL NAVY, once the scourge of brigands on the high seas, has been told by the UK Foreign Office NOT TO DETAIN MUSLIM PIRATES because doing so may breach their human rights.
The Foreign Office has advised that pirates sent back to Somalia could have their human rights breached because, under Islamic law, they face beheading for murder or having a hand chopped off for theft.Warships patrolling pirate-infested waters, such as those off Somalia, have been warned that there is also a risk that captured pirates could claim asylum in Britain.
Britain is part of a coalition force that patrols piracy stricken areas and the guidance has troubled navy officers who believe they should have more freedom to intervene.
The guidance was sharply criticised by Julian Brazier MP, the Conservative shipping spokesman, who said: “These people commit horrendous offences. The solution is not to turn a blind eye but to turn them over to the local authorities. The convention on human rights quite rightly doesn’t cover the high seas. It’s a pathetic indictment of what our legal system has come to.”
A Foreign Office spokesman said: “There are issues about human rights and what might happen in these circumstances. The main thing is to ensure any incident is resolved peacefully.”
In the 19th century, British warships largely eradicated piracy when they policed the oceans. The death penalty for piracy on the high seas remained on the statute books until 1998. Modern piracy ranges from maritime mugging to stealing from merchant ships with the crew held at gunpoint.
Remember this? British sailors detained by Iran in 2007 “to be tried for espionage”
The Australian has reported that an internet website “run by associates of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad” states that the 15British sailors who were arrested by Iranian Revolutionary Guards could face charges of espionage. The source website for this claim remains unknown; however, Rajanews.com, a news website run by some of supporters of Ahmadinejad said on their website: “If the charges of espionage is brought against them the result would be heavy punishment by current law.”
“If it is proven that they deliberately entered Iranian territory, they will be charged with espionage. If that is proven, they can expect a very serious penalty since according to Iranian law, espionage is one of the most serious offenses,” said the news report which also called the sailors “insurgents.” Individuals who are tried and found guilty of espionage or spying would be penalized by death, according to Iranian law.
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