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The interministerial decision-making body of the German government on 13 September decided to free four Somali pirates captured by the German frigate Brandenburg the previous weekend, the German Ministry of Defense announced Monday.Frigate Brandenburg (Source: © 2009 Bundeswehr / Ann-Katrin Winges)Despite admitting that there is sufficient evidence that the four are pirates, the interministerial body, composed of representatives of the German defense, foreign, interior and justice ministries, found no alternative but to free them because the EU decided not to request Kenya to try the four pirates as a guilty verdict is not certain. The EU relies on Kenyan courts to try pirates captured by Operation Atalanta, its counter-piracy operation off the Somali coast. Furthermore, no major German legally-protected interests were damaged, according to the German Ministry of Defense.As a result, the Brandenburg freed the four pirates within sight of the Somali coast Monday afternoon. All their pirate weapons and equipment has been confiscated and will be destroyed, the Maritime Security Centre of EU NAVFOR Somalia adds. The body of a fifth pirate who died of his wounds will also be returned to Somalia.The five pirates and their skiff were detained by the Brandenburg on 7 September when they ignored orders to stop.
ar99, Germany, pirates
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