Navy releases accused Somali pirates held on warship for six weeks

By Craig Whitlock
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 28, 2010; 6:18 PM

The Navy on Friday released 10 accused Somali pirates who had spent more than six weeks in custody aboard a U.S. warship in the Indian Ocean, Navy officials said.

U.S. officials said they tried to find a country willing to prosecute the alleged pirates, who were captured April 5 in the Arabian Sea by the McFaul, a U.S. guided missile destroyer. The McFaul apprehended the pirates after they had hijacked an Indian cargo ship and taken nine crew members hostage, Navy officials said.

The prisoners were removed from the McFaul on Friday and were being transported back to Somalia, Navy officials said.

U.S., European and other foreign navies that patrol the Indian Ocean have been reluctant to return captured pirates to Somalia -- a practice known as "catch-and-release" -- because the weak government there has little power to do anything about the problem.

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