Ascertain the ages of pirates, Mumbai court tells police

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Mumbai, Feb 11 (PTI) A local court here today directedthe police to "collect the age proofs" of seven alleged Somalipirates, saying that they appeared to be under-18.

Yellow Gate police here today produced 28 pirates -- whowere caught by Indian Navy and the Coast Guard offLakshadweep Islands on February 6 -- in the magistrate''scourt.

Court remanded them to police custody till February 14.

Police told the court they wanted to verify nationalitiesof the accused, though all of them were claiming to beSomalians.

Interrogation was also necessary to find out who wastheir leader, and who were the key members of the group, theprosecution said.

The alleged pirates, who don''t understand English, wereasked by the Public Prosecutor in sign language if they hadany complaints against the police; all the accused indicatedthey had none.

Quaiser Khalid, Deputy Commissioner of Police (PortZone), told reporters police will have to make a panchnama''(crime site report) by going to Lakshadweep. Khalid also saidthat translators were not readily available and police hadcontacted the African Studies Department of Mumbai Universityfor help.

"We have also contacted the Somalian Embassy, but it hasnot got back to us," Khalid said. .

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