ISLAMABAD - A court in the Seychelles has convicted and handed down long prison sentences to four pirates, accused of taking Pakistani fishermen as hostages.

A spokesperson of the Denmark Embassy, Islamabad, in a statement issued on Wednesday said that the pirates were captured by Denmark and delivered for prosecution last year. Denmark succeeded in getting some Pakistani fishermen, who had been held hostage by the pirates to witness against the pirates at the court.

The four pirates, who Denmark handed over to the Seychelles represent the hard core of a total of 16 pirates, whom the Danish Navy vessel Absalon detained during an anti-piracy raid in April 2012.

During the raid, 12 Pakistani and Iranian hostages were rescued. The court in the Seychelles has sentenced three of the pirates to each 24 years of imprisonment, while a fourth pirate has been sentenced to 16 years in imprisonment.

The Danish Foreign Minister, Villy Soevndal expressed great satisfaction after the verdict.”It is great news that the four pirates have now been sentenced. By this, we have once again proved that the Danish contribution at the African Horn is effective - and that pirates can be prosecuted and convicted, if the evidence is in place. In this particular case, we have benefitted from a great collaboration with Pakistan by securing the required witnesses. The next step to focus on will be to transfer the convicted pirates to serve their sentences in their home country, Somalia”.