Five Somali nationals suspected of piracy were acquitted on Friday after the Seychelles Supreme Court found that there was not enough evidence to support the charges.

The Supreme Court ruled that at the time of the men’s apprehension they had not been found to be doing anything illegal and did not have any illegal weapons with them.

The five men were released after the ruling.

The trial of the five Somalis started in September 2020, over a year after they were captured by the European Naval Force’s (EU NAVFOR) flagship ESPS NAVARRA.

The EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation Atalanta transferred the five suspects to the Seychellois authorities in 2019 in accordance with a transfer agreement between the island nation in the western Indian Ocean and the EU with support from United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The defense lawyer, Joel Camille, said the fact the defendants’ legal team changed three times contributed to the delay.

Now that the men have been acquitted, the UNDOC will make the necessary arrangements to deport them as they are in the country on a Prohibited Immigrant status.

However, Camille also said that he is not aware as to whether the men will begin proceedings for compensation following their two-year stay in Seychelles’ prison.

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