Britons, US citizen handed long jail terms in Somalia

Six foreigners including three Britons and an American were jailed for between 10 and 15 years in Somalia after the seizure of a small aircraft carrying $3.6 million allegedly destined to be paid as ransom to Somali pirates.

"The American and one of the Britons who carried the cash were sentenced to 15-year jail terms and to pay $15,000 each," Hashi Elmi Nur, chief justice of Mogadishu's Banadir court, told reporters.

Somali security forces members patrol the streets of Waberi district in Mogadishu.

The six were arrested on May 24 after a plane landed at Mogadishu and was waiting for another small plane to come in, collect the cash and fly it to another destination in the country, Mohamed Omar, a Somali government security official, said earlier.

"The other four, among them the pilots of the aircraft, were given 10-year prison terms and have been fined $10,000 each," he said.

All the money they were transporting and both aircraft had been confiscated by the government, he added.

An official told AFP that the foreigners said the money was destined to be used as a ransom payment.

However, the nationalities of the other two foreigners and the exact circumstances behind the planned payment were not known.


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