Pirates being tried in the Netherlands are announced that they want to stay in the country — citing such things as the toilets in their cell as just one of the great things about the country. One Dutch professor has suggested that the promise of a better life in the West might be a good incentive for pirates to surrender.
Geert-Jan Knoops, criminal defense attorney and professor at the Royal University of Utrecht, observed that “[t]hese trials may trigger other pirates to let themselves be arrested on purpose.”
One pirate is quoted as saying “Life is good here. I appeal to the government not to send me back to Somalia. The people who live here respect human rights. I wish to settle here.” His lawyer said that his client has complained about life in his village due to poverty and harsh application of sharia law.
Of course, such immigration policies worked for countries like Australia. We will know that the promise of arrest is driving piracy by looking for five telltale signs:
1. Pirates are questioning boats about their country and women before boarding (with Italian and French boats being magnates for “pirate asylum seekers”).
2. Pirates are boarding with travel maps, cameras, and Fodder’s guides.
3. Pirates are demanding money and a europass.
4. Pirate boats are festooned with signs that read “Paris is for Somali Lovers” and “Bonn of Bust” and the Jolly Roger has sunglasses and sun screen.
5. Pirates insist that ransom be paid in travel coupons and duty free products.
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