Five Somali men were sentenced Monday to life plus 80 years in prison for engaging in piracy and related offenses in last year’s attack on a U.S. warship in the Indian Ocean, federal officials announced Monday.
“Today marks the longest sentence ever given to a pirate in U.S. court, following the first time in over 190 years that an American jury has convicted a defendant of piracy,” Neil H. MacBride, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said in a statement. “Today’s sentences should send a clear message to those who attempt to engage in piracy: Armed attacks on U.S.-flagged vessels carry severe consequences in U.S. courts.”
In November, a federal jury in Virginia convicted the Somali men — Mohammed Modin Hasan, Gabul Abdullahi Ali, Abdi Wali Dire, Abdi Mohammed Gurewardher and Abdi Mohammed Umar — of piracy, attack to plunder a vessel, act of violence against persons on a vessel, assault with a dangerous weapon, assault with a dangerous weapon on federal officers and employees, conspiracy to use firearms during a crime of violence, and multiple firearm counts, including the use of a rocket propelled grenade.
Citing evidence and trial testimony, the statement said the five men left Somalia in three vessels — two small ones and a larger one — looking for a merchant ship to pirate. On April 1, 2010, Hasan, Ali and Dire boarded one of the smaller boats and set out to pirate what they believed to be a merchant ship, while Gurewardher and Umar remained on the large ship, the statement said.
Five Somali men were sentenced Monday to life plus 80 years in prison for engaging…
by Tactical-Life.com / Mar 15, 2011