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Learning English - Words in the News
16 April, 2008 - Published 11:09 GMT
Somali pirates face prosecution in France
The Ponant's 30 crew members were held hostage for a week

A group of six Somalis accused of holding hostage 30 crew members of a French yacht for a week have been flown to Paris where they're facing prosecution for piracy - in what would be the first trial of its kind. This report from Alasdair Sandford:

Listen to the story

The group arrived in France on board a military plane at about six o'clock in the morning local time. They were taken under escort to police headquarters for questioning.

A senior legal source said the Somali president had given his consent for them to be taken out of the country. French commandos captured the group in the Somali desert, allegedly with part of an estimated $2m ransom paid by the yacht owner for the crew's release.

The six suspects face trial for hijacking the vessel and taking hostages to secure a ransom. Police specialising in organised crime are to investigate the case. They're also expected to question the crew members who were flown to Paris earlier this week.

Alasdair Sandford, BBC News, Paris

Listen to the words

under escort
here, accompanied by/together with police officers

for questioning
for interrogation, to allow the police to ask them questions about the crime

A senior legal source
a person in a high position in the French system of law enforcement, who has supplied certain information

given his consent

soldiers specially trained to make dangerous raids

when people say something is true but cannot prove it with facts

a (usually large) sum of money demanded for releasing a captive, i.e. someone who has been taken prisoner

for the crew's release
to make sure the people who worked on the yacht are freed

hijacking the vessel
illegally taking control of the yacht by using force

taking hostages
holding several people prisoners (in order to exchange them for money)

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