Suspects attempted to kidnap and threatened crew members
By Nada AlTaher
Abu Dhabi: Ten men accused of a piracy attack on an Emirati ship and taking its crew members hostage, will face 10 years in prison followed by deportation after the Federal Supreme Court upheld their sentence Thursday.
The defendants were caught in 2011 after taking over an Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) vessel and its goods as it travelled on the Arab Sea. They kidnapped its crew members, held them hostage and attempted to redirect the ship towards Somalia after cutting off its communication lines with other parties. Two of the victims were physically assaulted and were unable to perform their duties due to their injuries for 20 days.
The hearing was headed by presiding Chief Justice Abdul Wahab Abdool, of the Federal Supreme Court.
According to court documents, the accused set fire to parts of the ship in a bid to create financial losses to its owner, rendering it unusable and carried unlicensed firearms (pistols, machine guns and RBJ rockets) which they used to threaten the ship‚Äôs crew and its security officers. The documents also stated that the accused had taken over the ship in a bid to obtain money in exchange for releasing its crew.
The men were tried at the Abu Dhabi Criminal Court where they faced nine charges, and were sentenced to life in prison and deportation while the stolen items were seized by UAE authorities.
However, since military officers prevented the crew members from being taken to Somalia, the crime of ‚Äòkidnapping‚Äô according to UAE law was not fully executed. Therefore, the charge of ‚Äòkidnapping‚Äô was later dropped, and changed to ‚Äòattempted kidnapping‚Äô.
Based on all the evidence against the defendants, including their confession, the Federal Supreme Court upheld the 10 year-sentence.