The five Corentyne fishermen were remanded to prison on a murder charge when they appeared at the Number 51 Magistrate’s Court on Friday.
The five appeared before Magistrate Charlyn Artiga to answer the capital offence. It is alleged that between May 28 and 28 at the Upper Corentyne they murdered Hemchand Sookedo in the course of a piracy attack.
Ramchan Latchman, 23, of Number 65 Village is the captain of the alleged piracy boat and number one accused. The others on the indictable charge are Ganesh Naidoo, 41, of Number 79 Village; Ramesh Singh, 53, of Liverpool; Stephon Leon Leacock, 19, of Number 77 Housing Scheme, Corriverton and Leon Sammy, 29, of Number 75 Village.
Latchman, who is a father of two, is said to been the mastermind behind the plot to hijack the fishermen. Police Prosecutor, Inspector Bernard Brown told the court that Sammy was previously before the court on a similar offence.
As the men made their appearance before the magistrate several family members of the accused were seated and listened intently to the proceedings. Also seated was a relative of the deceased.
Magistrate Artiga ordered that the accused return to court on July 6 for a police report.
It had been reported that between May 28 and 29 the five alleged pirates, hijacked three fishing boats and after taking away their catch, threw the captain of one of the vessels overboard.
He swam for three hours and was rescued by other fishermen.
The body of 45-year-old Hemchand Sookdeo also called ‘Dread’ of Number 55 Village was found trapped in a seine while Dochan Sukra, 54, also called ‘’Butcher’ of Number 55 Village, Dhanpaul Rampaul of Number 67 Village and Munish Churman 26 also called ‘Boyo’ of Number 60 Village are all still missing.
An autopsy performed on the body Sookdeo by Government Pathologist Dr Nehaul Singh on Friday at the Fort Wellington Hospital Mortuary gave the cause of death as drowning.
Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan is expected to meet with members of the fishing community on the Corentyne tomorrow to discuss issues surrounding the safety of fishermen.