A Guyanese court handed down death sentences for two men found guilty of high seas piracy attacks that killed seven fishermen off the nation’s coast in 2018, and authorities said they have broken the back of a deadly group that preyed on fishermen for years.

Loop News reports that Nakool Manohar, 45, and Premnauth Persaud, 48, were convicted of masterminding an attack on a group of fishing vessels in waters near the neighbouring South American country of Suriname in a row over access to prime fishing grounds. Seven fishermen perished, while about a dozen others were rescued after drifting on the waters for days.

Police said some of the men were thrown overboard with their hands tied or weighed down with boat batteries. Others were reportedly chopped with machetes or burned with hot engine oil and tossed into the waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Sentencing the men on Tuesday after a jury returned guilty verdicts, Justice Navindra Singh described the attacks as heinous, saying he found “no reason not to impose the death sentence.”

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