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Spaniards rally for release of pirate-held crew

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Spaniards rally for release of pirate-held crew


Braving heavy rain in the Basque Country, thousands have demanded freedom for the crew of a Spanish trawler seized by Somali pirates.

Relatives of the 36-strong crew joined the protest in Bermeo, the home port of the hijacked Alakrana. Three captives have been threatened with death if Madrid fails to free two suspected pirates being held in Spain. One captured trawlerman’s wife, taking part in the protest, urged unity. She said politicians should not argue or try to score points but should act so the crew can come home immediately. The trio under threat were taken ashore by the pirates but the Spanish Foreign Minister said they had later been returned to the vessel. While Spain has refused to release the piracy suspects, Miguel Angel Moratinos stressed a commitment to finding a diplomatic solution. Latest reports suggest the Alakrana’s captors may now settle for the detained pair being extradited to Somalia for trial. Urging politicians to “do what they have to do”, Antonio Costas, the brother of a crewman, who was himself due to join the ship, remains pessimistic. He says even if those on board do come back, their ordeal will have left them traumatised. The multinational crew of the tuna boat was seized in the Indian Ocean on October 2. Shortly afterwards, Spain’s navy captured the two Somali suspects at the centre of the pirates’ demands.

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