Supreme Court, M.A.H., Nr. AR P.13.1856.N, 3 December 2013
In 2013, the Belgian police were able to arrest M.A.H., suspected to be involved in the hostage-taking of a Belgian merchant vessel off the Somali coast, after he was lured to Belgium under the pretence that he could be a part of a movie project about maritime piracy.
M.A.H. relied on diplomatic immunity, but the Belgian Supreme Court rejected this claim. In particular, the Court held that M.A.H.’s alleged diplomatic passport was a mere travel document delivered by the previous government, whereas the Somali documents qualifying him as an ‘anti-piracy officer” did not entail any diplomatic status either. What is more, his reasons for entering Belgium were purely private and had nothing to do with exercising any public function. The Belgian Foreign Ministry has also confirmed in writing that M.A.H. did not qualify for diplomatic immunity.