Wednesday, April 15, 2009

You Can't Fight Piracy With Lawyers

A Somali pirate has filed suit against Germany, claiming "inhumane treatment." If anyone wants to know why piracy is flourishing off Somalia despite the presence of numerous international warships, they need look no further than this case.

Ali Mohamed AD was captured by the German Navy when he and eight other pirates attempted to capture a merchant ship. Rather than summarily executing him -- the traditional and customary penalty for anyone taken in an act of piracy -- the Germans stupidly turned him and his cohorts over to Kenya, supposedly for prosecution. Now, rather than just thanking his good luck that the West is paralyzed by ridiculous legalistic rules that forbid the execution of even traditionally-defined "enemies of humanity," this particular pirate is going see how far he can push his advantage. He's going to try to make Germany pay for capturing him while he engaged in piracy. 

Unfortunately there are no doubt lawyers ready to take up his case. And there are probably human rights activists and others looking into it. If this sort of thing continues, there will probably be people calling for an inquiry into how captured pirates are treated. What if they were subjected to any sort of harsh treatment? We can't have that. After all, we can't even harm known terrorists, let alone poor pirates just trying to make a living.


  1. to be fair, if i were a somali (want a tax free society? move to sunny somalia!), i would probably be engaged in piracy. my other choices would include starving or member of a militia.

  2. Job options are definitely limited in Somalia.
    Piracy does pay pretty well. And really, if you collect a ransom or two, chances are probably pretty good you'll be able to bribe your way out of custody if you are unlucky enough to get captured and turned over to Kenya.