Wednesday, 16 October 2013
TALKING TO SOMALIA’S “MOST NOTORIOUS PIRATE”
By Alex Chitty
If you read about Somali piracy for any length of time, one name is bound to keep cropping up: Mohammed Abdi “Big Mouth” Hassan. Except he just got busted. I spoke to him a couple of months ago, and thought now might be the time to dig it out.
Hassan, or “Afweyne” as he was previously known, famously hijacked the biggest vessel in history, a $100 million Saudi-owned supertanker, which he recieved $3 million to return. A “founding father” of modern buccaneering off the Horn of Africa, Hassan hit the headlines back in January, when he held a press conference to announce his “retirement” from the game. Despite this, an INTERPOL Red Notice issued in his name in 2012 stuck, and a couple of days ago his pirate reign came to an official end.
Sneaky Belgian cops who were probably a bit sore over the hijacking of their compatriots’ship back in 2009, lured Hassan to Brussels on the premise of working on a fake documentary about piracy. Despite grasping a Somali diplomatic passport (“not worth the paper it’s written on”, the UK Foreign Office told me), Big Mouth was charged with hijacking and Continued
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