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06NAIROBI526 2006-02-06 11:50:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Nairobi
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1. (SBU) The government of Kenya formally announced its
intent to prosecute the 10 Somali pirates captured by U.S.
forces January 22 (reftels) via a diplomatic note dated
February 1. The note stated that the government "is willing
to prosecute the 10 alleged pirates." (MFA Diplomatic Note
MFA.231/28A(136), dated 1 February 2006). The Kenyan
government has also made public statements to the same

2. (SBU) The 10 accused Somalis were arraigned on piracy
charges under Section 69 of the Kenyan Penal Code in Mombasa
on February 3, a charge to which all 10 defendants pleaded
not guilty. According to the diplomatic note, piracy is a
criminal offense in Kenya, "whether committed within
territorial waters or in the high seas" and is punishable
with life imprisonment. U.S. authorities provided the lead
investigator in the case, Gabriel Mbuvi, with incriminating
exhibits which included two rocket propelled grenade
launchers, one AK-47, one pistol, a shipping and migratory
map (dated 1990), a maritime survival guide (in French), cell
phones, several rounds of ammunition and magazines, homemade
knives, and an outboard engine. The defendants are currently
being held at the Shimo La Tewa prison awaiting trial,
scheduled to begin February 8. The Mombasa court seeks to
obtain interpreters both for the Indian witnesses and the
Somali defendants and the 10 defendants are seeking to retain
legal counsel. The rescued Indian crewmen will be given
priority to give testimony in the case, with no more than two
to three witnesses per day, due to the need for
interpretation. It is not clear when U.S. witnesses might be
called before the court.