Somali pirates go on trial in France
Three Somali pirates have gone on trial for the 2009 hijacking of a French yacht which prompted a rescue operation by elite forces in which the skipper died.
French troops stormed the Tanit sailing boat on April 10, 2009, and captured the trio during a bid to free Florent Lemacon, his wife, their three-year-old son and two others. Commandos killed two pirates but accidentally shot dead Florent Lemacon.
On the first day of the trial in the northwestern city of Rennes on Monday, the young defendants described a life of poverty in Somalia that they say eventually led to them to piracy. One said he lost his livelihood following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The three were still struggling in 2009, when pirates gave them clothes, drugs and US$100 to get a "job" done, they said.
Grabbing Kalashnikovs, they tried in vain to hijack a cargo ship. So they resorted to storming the Tanit, a 13-metre sailing boat.
The lawyer for Lemacon's widow, Chloe, Arnaud Colon de Franciosi, said she wanted justice, and was angry with the French state for ordering a "dangerous operation".