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Somali Pirates Be Brought To Trial In Spain

A Spanish judge has ordered that seven suspected Somali pirates detained in the Gulf of Aden be brought to Spain and remanded in custody for questioning, a judicial official said.

A Spanish naval vessel captured the seven in international waters in the Indian Ocean on Wednesday after their boat capsized when they were trying to board a Panamanian-flagged vessel.

The navy seized objects that could serve as evidence that the detainees were pirates, including a ladder and a Global Positioning System (GPS), which could be used to track their movements.

National Court judge Fernando Andreu wants to question the seven as part of a preliminary probe into the suspected pirate attack which he opened under a new piracy law adopted by Spain in November 2008.

The Spanish Parliament passed the law after a Spanish tuna purse seiner and its crew were held hostage for six days by Somali pirates in April 2008.

The Spanish naval vessel is taking part in European Union anti-pirate patrols in the Indian Ocean, where there were 61 pirate attacks during the first quarter of 2009 compared to six reported for the same period last year, according to the International Maritime Bureau.

Last month the Spanish detained nine suspected Somalian pirates believed to have launched a failed attack on an Italian cruise ship. It handed the nine suspects over to the authorities in the Seychelles.