Guyana court sentences two pirates to death for 2018 attack

Feb 2, 2023, 12:25 AM | Updated: 3:02 pm

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) — A Guyanese court handed down death sentences for two men found guilty of high seas piracy attacks that killed seven fishermen off the nation’s coast in 2018, and authorities said they have broken the back of a deadly group that preyed on fishermen for years.

Nakool Manohar, 45, and Premnauth Persaud, 48, were convicted of masterminding an attack on a group of fishing vessels in waters near the neighboring South American country of Suriname in a row over access to prime fishing grounds. Seven fishermen perished, while about a dozen others were rescued after drifting on the waters for days.

Police said some of the men were thrown overboard with their hands tied or weighed down with boat batteries. Others were reportedly chopped with machetes or burned with hot engine oil and tossed into the waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Sentencing the men on Tuesday after a jury returned guilty verdicts, Justice Navindra Singh described the attacks as heinous, saying he found “no reason not to impose the death sentence.”

“It would be reckless and irresponsible of the court to allow them to be released into society at any time,” the judge said.

He called their actions “gruesome, heinous and cold-blooded” as he imposed death by hanging.

The men can appeal the ruling to the local court of appeals and also to the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice, which is the final court for Guyana. Their lawyer declined to comment Thursday on their plans.

While death by hanging is still on local law books, no one has been hanged in Guyana since 1997 and authorities have made no effort to enforce death sentences imposed by courts. More than a dozen people are on death row in Guyana, some sentenced as far back as two decades ago.

Authorities have so far resisted lobbying efforts from the European Union and other international rights groups to scrub hanging from the law books. In some cases, appeal courts have commuted sentences to life in prison as those on death row simply bide their time behind bars.

Until the April 2018 attack, authorities had been battling such attacks along the southeastern coast with Suriname and less frequently in the northwest near Venezuela. Police at the time blamed Venezuelan gangs for the attacks.

Police figures recorded almost 30 deaths from piracy in the past decade. But police regional commander Shiv Bacchus told The Associated Press on Thursday that piracy had not been a major problem in the Berbice border region with Suriname since the arrest of the suspects.

“For all of last year we had none. For this year, none as well. I must admit that the arrest and sentencing of those responsible had led to a 100% reduction,” Bacchus said.

Police also credit the arrest and jailing of several Guyanese pirates in Suriname in the past decade for the dramatic decline in incidents.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - This Sept. 2015, photo provided by NOAA Fisheries shows an aerial view of adult female South...
Associated Press

Researchers: Inbreeding a big problem for endangered orcas

People have taken many steps in recent decades to help the Pacific Northwest's endangered killer whales, which have long suffered from starvation, pollution and the legacy of having many of their number captured for display in marine parks.
16 hours ago
FILE - Hiring signs are displayed at a grocery store in Arlington Heights, Ill., Jan. 13, 2023. Emp...
Associated Press

Pay transparency is spreading. Here’s what you need to know

U.S. employers are increasingly posting salary ranges for job openings, even in states where it’s not required by law, according to analysts with several major job search websites.
16 hours ago
Meadowdale High School 9th grade students Juanangel Avila, right, and Legacy Marshall, left, work t...
David Klepper and Manuel Valdes, Associated Press

Seattle high school teacher advocates for better digital literacy in schools

Shawn Lee, a high school social studies teacher in Seattle, wants to see lessons on internet akin to a kind of 21st century driver's education, an essential for modern life.
16 hours ago
South Carolina Senators hear from the parents of people who died from fentanyl overdose on Jan. 19,...
Associated Press

With overdoses up, states look at harsher fentanyl penalties

State lawmakers nationwide are responding to the deadliest overdose crisis in U.S. history by pushing harsher penalties for possessing fentanyl and other powerful lab-made opioids that are connected to about 70,000 deaths a year.
16 hours ago
FILE - In this July 3, 2014, file photo, the Microsoft Corp. logo is displayed outside the Microsof...
Associated Press

Microsoft adds AI tools to Office apps like Outlook, Word

Microsoft is infusing artificial intelligence tools into its Office software, including Word, Excel and Outlook emails.
4 days ago
FILE - This photo provided by the Alaska Volcano Observatory/U.S. Geological Survey shows the Tanag...
Associated Press

Alaska volcanoes now pose lower threat, after quakes slow

Diminished earthquake activity led authorities Thursday to reduce the warning levels at two volcanoes on an uninhabited island in Alaska’s Aleutian chain because of the decreased potential for eruptions.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Guyana court sentences two pirates to death for 2018 attack