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Seychelles Prosecute Somali Pirates for the First Time

The island nation of Seychelles says it has convicted Somali pirates for the first time. The president's office said Monday that a court has convicted 11 Somalis for attempting to hijack a Seychelles coast guard boat last December.

It said eight were convicted of piracy, while the other three were convicted of aiding and abetting piracy. The men were each sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Seychelles set up a special court to try Somali pirates earlier this year, following a series of hijackings in the Indian Ocean, near Seychellian waters. The country says it has at least 29 other suspected pirates awaiting trial.

Seychelles and Kenya are the only two African nations prosecuting Somali pirates. War-torn Somalia lacks the stability and legal framework to carry out prosecutions.

Other captured Somali pirates are standing trial in European courts. However, many governments have been reluctant to put them on trial because of an unclear legal process, complicated by time and money concerns.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.