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Cablegate: Demarche: Prosecuting Pirates of Egyptian

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHC #6567 2312031
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 192014Z AUG 09
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO AMEMBASSY CAIRO 2772

UNCLAS STATE 086567

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EWWT MARR PGOV PHSA PHUM PREL EG
SUBJECT: DEMARCHE: PROSECUTING PIRATES OF EGYPTIAN
FISHING VESSELS SAMARAH AHMED AND MOMTAZ 1

REF: (A) STATE 59021 (B) CAIRO 1571

1. This is an action request. See paragraph 2.

--------------
Objectives
--------------

2. Department requests that the Embassy approach the GOE at
the appropriate level with the following objectives:

-- Express U.S. admiration for the courageous self-rescue of
the Egyptian crews of two pirated fishing vessels;

-- Determine GOE intent with regard to prosecuting the
suspected pirates. The pirates are reportedly in the custody
of the crew members, who are currently sailing the two
fishing vessels back to Egypt.

-- Explain USG's position that affected states should
prosecute piracy in their national courts; and

-- Encourage GOE to prosecute these pirates in Egyptian court.

-------------
Reporting
-------------

3. Post is requested to report by either email or cable by
September 7 to PM/PPA Donna Hopkins, Hopkinsdl@state.gov or
hopkinsdl@state.sgov.gov.

----------------
Background
----------------

4. The SAMARAH AHMED and MOMTAZ 1 are Egyptian fishing
boats held since April 10 by pirates near the Somali port of
Bossaso. According to press reports, the crews of the two
boats overpowered their captors on or about August 14 and are
now sailing back to Egypt with eight captive pirates. One
press report stated that two pirates were killed; another
reported that "seven dead pirates" washed up on Somali shores
right after the self-rescue. The crews reportedly declined
an offer by the GOE to be flown back to Egypt, choosing
instead to sail their ships home to demonstrate their "pride
and courage."

5. Department had previously urged GOE to prosecute pirates
captured on May 13 by U.S. forces while attacking the
Egyptian-flagged, Egyptian-owned, and Egyptian crewed M/V
AMIRA in April 2009 (State 59021). GOE took no action and
the U.S. Navy eventually transferred the suspects to Kenya
for prosecution. Subsequent conversations with Egyptian
officials indicated that GOE is reluctant to prosecute Somali
pirates in Egyptian courts (Cairo 1571).

6. The United States believes that the state(s) affected in
a pirate attack should accept responsibility for prosecuting
the suspects. Kenya has accepted over 100 suspects for
prosecution in cases where affected states have not been
willing or able to prosecute the offenders, but the burden
needs to be shared more broadly. The Kenyan judicial system
is being strained and some Kenyans are increasingly
questioning their role. In order to avoid impunity for acts
of piracy, it is becoming increasingly important that
affected states prosecute pirates in their national courts.
GOE prosecution of the SAMARAH AHMED and MOMTAZ 1 pirates
would set an important precedent in the region and
demonstrate that suspected pirates will be brought to justice.

7. PM PDAS Tom Countryman will lead the U.S. delegation to
the September 10 plenary meeting of the Contact Group for
Piracy off the Coast of Somalia. Post,s findings will
inform his discussion with his Egyptian counterpart.
CLINTON

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