A Japanese court has sentenced an African man to 11 years in prison for the attempted hijack of a Japanese tanker.
The African is the last to be sentenced out of four men who attempted to hijack the tanker just off the coast of Oman in 2011, but were captured by US Navy personnel who handed them over to Japan’s coastguard.
Piracy has reduced in the piracy-ridden area in recent years, with pirates deterred by an international deployment of warships in the area.
The 21-year-old Somali was a juvenile under Japanese law at the time of the incident, reports said, explaining why he was not tried and sentenced with the other men.
The men, who were armed with submachine guns, tried to seize the Mitsui OSK Lines tanker, but failed with the intervention of US Navy personnel.
Japan applied it’s new anti-piracy law for the first time and transported the men to Tokyo to face trial.
The defendant, not named because of his age at the time the crime was committed, pleaded not guilty, claiming that the small boat he was aboard was adrift and he had asked for help from the tanker, the Jiji Press agency said.
Testimonies from the other men however led the judge to believe he was part of the attempted hijacking.
Earlier, two of the men got a jail sentence of 10 years each, while the other man was given a sentence of five to nine years.