|"Accused Somali pirates and their lawyers in the Hamburg court at the start of the trial on Nov. 22, 2010." (Getty Images)|
By Beate Lakotta
Spiegel Online, January 11, 2011
"Two out of the 10 Somali pirates on trial in Hamburg for hijacking a German container ship testified for the first time this week. Their stories provided a glimpse of the hardships of life in their lawless homeland. The accused, Hussein Carab M. politely thanked the court and those present for their attention before describing the hardships that led him to join up with pirates. He claimed that he was six years old when his parents were killed by a grenade in the chaos of Somalia's civil war, and then spent his childhood traumatized, and on his own. Now a father himself, M. said he fears most for the safety of his son, given the mortal danger in which they have constantly lived. He claimed his son was kidnapped by a man to whom he owed about $1,100 (€848). He said he wanted to pay the man off using his cut from the ransoms he and fellow pirates planned to demand for the hijacked ship and crew. Instead, M. and nine others were arrested by a Royal Dutch Navy special-forces unit after a failed raid on the German container ship, Taipan, and brought to Hamburg for trial. That was nine months ago. On Monday, M. and one of his fellow accused pirates had their day in court. Since his arrest, M. said he has been living with the uncertainty about his son's fate, making him depressed and unable to eat. He said he could even give the court the name of the man who is holding the child. When prison officials noticed his condition, he said, they asked him if he was thinking about taking his own life, but they could not understand his reply. M. asked the court on Monday to give him the chance to make a phone call so he could inquire about his son. 'I am deeply sad and don't know how to go on,' he said, beginning to cry. [...]"