• search
For Quick Alerts
For Daily Alerts

Somali pirates jailed by French court for fatal hijacking


Paris, Apr 14: Seven Somali pirates were sentenced to between six and 15 years in prison by a French court for the hijacking of a French yacht and killing of its owner in the Gulf of Aden in 2011.

Christian and Evelyne Colombo were on a round-the-world trip when their "Tribal Kat" catamaran was hijacked by pirates in the Arabian Sea.

somali pirates

Christian was killed and his body dumped in the water, while his wife was held hostage for 48 hours before being rescued by the Spanish military.

Two members of the gang identified as the "recruiters", Farhan Abdisalamn Hassan and Ahmed Abdullahi Akid, were handed 15-year sentences. Farhan Mohamoud Abchir, a minor at the time of the hijacking who has developed schizophrenia while in prison, according to his lawyer, was given the lightest six-year jail term.

The prosecutor had sought terms of up to 22 years for the seven. "It's hard to understand the range of the penalties, the motivations of the court. Fifteen years is a very heavy sentence," said Augustin d'Ollone, lawyer for Akid Abdullahi.

The Colombo family cried as the sentence was read out. "It has been four years that we have sought life sentences. This verdict does not satisfy us," the family said in a statement posted on social media.

Before the sentence was read out, the Somalis asked for "forgiveness" for a crime they said haunted them "every day".

The Colombos had sold everything before embarking on a dream round-the-world trip. They left the Yemen port of Aden in early September 2011 and were heading for Oman -- a journey that took them through notoriously pirate-infested waters -- when naval authorities received a distress signal from their "Tribal Kat" catamaran.

A German frigate found the boat several hours later. There were bullet holes in the deck and a pair of glasses lying in a pool of blood. No one was onboard.

Two days later, a Spanish warship located the skiff believed to belong to the pirates. They tried to approach but turned away when the attackers dragged Evelyne Colombo into view, a gun to her head.

The Spanish military prepared a raid and attacked a few hours later, leaving two pirates dead and the remaining seven under arrest.

Evelyne Colombo told her rescuers that her husband's body had been dumped into the sea. It was never found. She had spent a nightmarish 48 hours with the pirates, kept under a tarpaulin, drenched by waves and in constant fear of death.


For Daily Alerts
Get Instant News Updates
Notification Settings X
Time Settings
Clear Notification X
Do you want to clear all the notifications from your inbox?
Settings X
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. This includes cookies from third party social media websites and ad networks. Such third party cookies may track your use on Oneindia sites for better rendering. Our partners use cookies to ensure we show you advertising that is relevant to you. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on Oneindia website. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time. Learn more