‘Pirates’ sentenced to death for murder of seven fishermen
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Nakool Manohar called ‘Fyah’
Nakool Manohar called ‘Fyah’

-judge says they cannot be rehabilitated in prison

FIVE years after several fishermen were killed during a pirate attack off the coast of Suriname, Corentyne businessman, Nakool Manohar called ‘Fyah’ and his accomplice Permnauth Persaud called ‘Sanbat’, were, on Monday, handed the death sentence for the crime which has been described as “gruesome” and “heinous”.

Manohar, 42, of Number 43 Village, and Persaud, 46, were sentenced by Justice Navindra Singh, at the Berbice High Court.

In December 2023, a 12-member jury found Manohar and Persaud guilty of the charge which read that, between April and June 2018, while in Guyana’s territorial waters, they murdered Mahesh Sarjoo called ‘Kuba’ and Tilaknauth Mohabir called ‘Camion’, on board the vessel, Romina SK 764, while committing the offence of piracy.

It was further alleged that the men, during the same period, murdered Bandara called ‘Spanish man’, Laita Sumair called ‘Bora’ and Lokesh DeCouite, on board the vessel, Joshua SK 1418.

During that period, four fishing vessels were attacked by pirates and several fishermen were savagely beaten, chopped and burnt with hot oil and left to die, while others remain missing and are feared dead. Five fishermen survived the traumatic ordeal.

The incident had gained international attention and placed tremendous pressure on the law enforcement authorities in Guyana and Suriname.

Investigators had said that the attack was an act of revenge in an ongoing disagreement among Guyanese fishermen and Manohar, who was one of the main suppliers of fish to the Surinamese market. A brother of Manohar was killed in a drive-by shooting allegedly at the hands of other fishermen.

The State was represented by special prosecutor, Latchmie Rahamat and State Counsel, Nafeeza Baig.

Rahamat during Tuesday’s sentencing hearing said that Manohar was the mastermind behind the crime as he gave Persaud instructions to “ransom” the fishing vessels and kill the fishermen. She explained that the men only had one intention, which was to “make the sea run red.”

Premnauth Persaud ‘Sanbad’

Additionally, she reflected on the testimony of Darandeo Persaud called “Archie bai”, one of the survivors of the deadly attack, who said that he only survived by the “grace of God.”

Darandeo had positively identified his attackers. The men did not wear any masks during the attack since they had no intention of leaving eyewitnesses.

Rahamat urged the court to consider the heinous manner in which the men were chopped by the pirates, tied to an anchor and thrown overboard.

Darandeo- although being injured- managed to survive on the water top for 24 hours before being rescued.

Citing numerous aggravating factors, Rahamat said that the attack was premeditated and the men lacked remorse for their actions.

Darandeo gave his victim impact statement to the court on Tuesday. The frail man trembled uncontrollably as he spoke. He said that the attack has devastated his life and he is now forced to relive the attack every night when he sleeps.

Meanwhile, Persaud in his address to the court said: “I know is people’s children pass away and I’m sorry, but I ain’t know anything about this.” However, Manohar opted to remain silent.

Justice Singh said that as he went through the evidence in the case one question lingered in the back of his mind – “How can a human being decide to do something like this, and then carry it out?”

He added that the men showed no remorse for the “cruel, gruesome, heinous and cold blooded murders.”

“These men cannot be rehabilitated, and it would be reckless to let them return to civil society,” the judge said as he imposed the death sentence. He added that the sentence is in keeping with the provisions under the Hijacking and Piracy Act of Guyana.

Following the sentencing, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Shalimar Ali-Hack, S.C., in a comment said: “…the rule of law prevailed in the trial and sentence in this case. Justice has been done to the fisherfolk who lost their lives in a most inhumane and gruesome manner and to their families who lost their loved ones while pursuing an honest living.”

Earlier in January, two fishermen pleaded guilty to the 2017 piracy attack committed on 57-year-old Corentyne boat captain, Mahadeo Ramdeholl, also known as ‘Chico.’

Doodnauth Singh, 63, and Khemraj Narsayah, 44, both fishermen of Rose Hall, Corentyne, will be sentenced by Justice Singh come February 20, 2023.

According to reports, on May 16, 2017, around 18:30 hours in the Atlantic Ocean in the vicinity of Tain Village on the Corentyne, Singh and Narsayah, who were armed with cutlasses, pounced on Ramdelholl’s boat. They attacked him and his two crewmen, Arjun Permaul and Parmanand Nandan.

After relieving the victims of their fish and outboard engine, the men struck Ramdeholl on the head and pushed him overboard. The men also forced Permaul and Parmanand to jump into the water.

Ramdeholl’s body was found near the Rose Hall foreshore the next day and a post-mortem found that he died by drowning.

Following the 2018 pirate attacks, then President David Granger declared June 25 a National Day of Mourning in memory of the victims and to demonstrate solidarity with the grieving families.


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