ROME — An Italian court on Friday sentenced eight Somali pirates to between 16 and 19 years in prison for attempting to hijack an Italian-flagged cargo ship in 2011 after one of Europe’s biggest piracy trials.
The crew of the Montecristo locked themselves in the engine room after their ship was boarded by gun-toting pirates off the coast of Somalia.
They held out for 24 hours before being rescued by British, Italian and US warships.
The eight were found guilty of attempted kidnapping for extortion and illegal possession of firearms, Italian news agency ANSA reported.
The court threw out the charge of “acting for terrorist ends” linked to the use by the pirates of the ransom money they received, the report said.
Several countries including France, Kenya, South Korea and the United States have tried pirates, but the case in Italy was among the biggest of its kind.
Copyright © 2012 AFP. All rights reserved.
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