Five sentenced to death over 2016 piracy attack described by judge as ‘utter savagery’


Five men were on Thursday sentenced to death for the murders of four fishermen during a piracy attack in 2016.

Leon Sammy of Number 75 Village, Ganesh Naidoo of Number 79 Village, Ramesh Singh of Liverpool Village, Ramchand Latchman and Stephon Leacock of Number 77 Village, Corentyne were sentenced by Justice Sandil Kissoon at the Berbice High Court. The sentencing followed their guilty pleas.

The fishermen killed in the piracy attack were: Hemchand Sookdeo, 45, called “Dread”, a father of five of Number 55 Village, Corentyne, Berbice; Dochan Sukra, 54, known as “Butcher”; Dhanpaul Ramphal, 38, known as “Sunil”; and Munish Churman, 26, called “Boyo” of No. 60 Village.

The crime occurred between May 27-28, 2016, in the waters of the Lower Shell area off Nickerie, Suriname.

Justice Kissoon, in delivering the sentencing remarks, characterised the murders as a “horrific crime and an atrocity of utter and complete savagery.”

The Judge said that the five convicts had engaged in a homicidal rampage involving piracy, hijacking, and robbery on the specified days.

He pronounced the death sentence, stating, “each of you is hereby sentenced to suffer death in a manner prescribed by law on each count in the indictment.”

According to reports, boat captain Seepersaud Persaud and his four fishermen were out at sea when they were attacked by the defendants and thrown overboard.

The pirates first threw Sookdeo, who was injured and bleeding, into the water. Then, the other three were bound and strapped to anchors. They, too, were thrown into the ocean.

The robbers escaped with the fishermen’s catch for the day, fuel and other equipment.

Sookdeo was rescued by another vessel after swimming for almost three hours.

Days later, acting on information received, Police went to No. 65 Village foreshore, Corentyne, where they saw a boat matching the description of the one involved in the piracy attack.

The five men who were aboard were arrested and later charged.

1 Comment
  1. Matthew says

    Perfect sentence… will deter these 5 at the very least and hopefully others tink twice.

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