The case against five Somali pirates involved in the hijacking of a South Korean freighter earlier this year will go to the South Korean Supreme Court for a final ruling, officials said Saturday.
The move came as Mahomed Arai, 23, and four other pirates as well as local prosecutors appealed the recent decision by a Busan appeals court.
The Busan High Court upheld the lower court's life imprisonment for Arai earlier this month after convicting him of hijacking a South Korean ship and shooting its captain.
The four other pirates received jail terms ranging from 12 to 15 years.
It was not immediately clear when the Supreme Court would hear the case.
The five pirates were captured during a Jan. 21 commando operation by South Korea's Navy to rescue the South Korean chemical carrier, the Samho Jewelry, in the Arabian Sea. Eight other pirates were killed in the operation.
The captured pirates were brought to Busan, the home port of the Samho Jewelry, for trial. The ship's captain was seriously wounded by shots apparently fired by one of the pirates during the raid but the ship's 21 other crew members, eight of them South Korean, were rescued unharmed.
The captain, Seok Hae-kyun, has been undergoing rehabilitation at a South Korean hospital. (Yonhap)