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Tag: pirates

2 Somali Pirates Get Life in Deaths of S/V Quest Hijacking

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Two Somali pirates involved in the hijacking of the S/V Quest, which resulted in the death of four Americans, were sentenced Monday in Norfolk, Va. fed court to life in prison.

Muhidin Salad Omar, 30, and Mahdi Jama Mohamed, who is about 24, admitted in the plea agreements that they participated in the hijacking off the coast of Somalia in February , but said they did not shoot any of the victims, authorities said.

“Somali piracy is a scourge on the world stage, and it continues to grow more widespread and more violent,” said Virginia U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride in a statement. “Armed attacks on the high seas carry a very real threat of death to those taken hostage, a threat that was tragically made evident in this case. That threat remains for hundreds of hostages held hostage in Somalia, and a life sentence sends a strong message to anyone who chooses to engage in piracy against U.S. interests that they will face severe consequences.”

“Muhidin Salad Omar and Mahdi Jama Mohamed will spend the rest of their lives behind bars, far away from the high seas they terrorized,” added Janice K. Fedarcyk, head of the New York FBI.

 

2 Somali Pirates Get Life in Death of 4 U.S. Citizens

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The pirate biz may have provided a good life for two Somalian men. Now it’s simply providing life — in prison that is.

Ali Abdi Mohamed, 30, and Burhan Abdirahman Yusuf, 31, were both sentenced Monday in federal court in Norfolk, Va. to life in prison for their roles in the pirate attack in February off the coast of Oman against the S/V Quest, which resulted in the murder of four U.S. citizens, the Justice Department said.

Neil H. MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office; Alex J. Turner, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office; and Mark Russ, Special Agent in Charge of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) in Norfolk, made the announcement after sentencing by United States District Judge Mark S. Davis.

“Piracy is a scourge that threatens nations, commerce, and individual lives,” said U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride in a statement. “This is the first case where American lives have been lost due to Somali piracy, and as Somali pirates expand their territory, the risk of violence and harm to others continues to grow. Today’s sentences send a message to all those who participate in piracy that armed attacks on the high seas carry lifelong consequences.”

Janice Fedarcyk, head of the New York FBI added: “The pirates’ vain attempt to obtain ransom, after nine days at sea, ended in the death of four Americans. Today’s life sentences will be heard throughout the pirate community—and should send a clear message—that the days of unbridled armed robbery and extortion at sea are over. The only plunder these pirates earned is life behind bar.”

Authorities said the two men pled guilty to piracy, which carries a mandatory life sentence. Nine co-conspirators have also pled guilty and will be sentenced in the coming weeks.

The two men were among 19 Somalis who searched the high seas for a vessel to hold for ranson.

After several days at sea, authorities said,  the pirates were approximately 900 miles from Somalia and running low on fuel when they spotted the American vessel, the S/V Quest. So they took the four people aboard as hostages. Eventually during a standoff with U.S. warships, the pirates killed the four hostages.

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The FBI’s Man on the Pirate Beat– Kevin Coughlin

By Joseph Goldstein
New York Times

In the F.B.I.’s expansive offices in Lower Manhattan, a black-and-white banner on Special Agent Kevin P. Coughlin’s desk stands out amid the rows of cubicles. It is a Jolly Roger, skull above crossed swords, the pirate’s calling card.

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Mr. Coughlin, 35, belongs to a squad whose caseload includes investigating crime on the high seas. Not too long ago that mostly meant crimes on cruise ships, like rape and jewelry theft. But as piracy proliferated off the coast of Somalia over the past four years, and as American ships came under attack, the nature of the squad’s inquiries changed.

In the past two years, as lead investigator in most of the F.B.I.’s piracy cases, Mr. Coughlin has interviewed a majority of the accused pirates charged in United States courts in modern times — 18 of 27 men, all from Somalia or Yemen. He has tried to determine how each ended up in a skiff far out to sea, and what their respective roles were during an attack.

“Like a lot of criminals, they try to minimize their involvement,” Mr. Coughlin said.

To read full story click here.

3 Somali Pirates Plead Guilty in Hijacking of Ship That Resulted in 4 American Deaths


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Three Somali pirates pled guilty Friday in federal court in Norfolk, Va., to leading the group that hijacked the S/V Quest in the Indian Ocean,  which resulted in the death of four American crew members in February.

“These men have admitted to pirating an American yacht and holding four U.S. citizens hostage at gunpoint for ransom. Tragically, their piracy led to the execution of the four American hostages,” said U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride. “Piracy is big business in Somalia, and today pirates got another reminder of the tremendous cost of participating in this criminal venture. If you pirate an American ship, you will be caught and you’ll face severe consequences in an American courtroom.”

FBI Assistant Director in Charge Janice K. Fedarcyk added in a statement: “Today’s pleas are a crucial step in the judicial process. Mohamud Hirs Issa Ali and Mohamud Salad Ali, the leaders of these violent pirates, were armed hijackers who directed their subordinates to take hostages and seize the Quest, resulting in the death of four innocent Americans. Modern piracy isn’t swordplay and derring-do; it’s armed robbery and cold-blooded murder at sea.”

NYT Report Questions FBI’s Role in Pirate Case That Resulted in Murder

By Allan Lengel
ticklethwire.com

WASHINGTON — A New York Times story is questioning the actions of the FBI in connection with the four-day standoff with pirates off the Somalia coast that ended with all four crew members aboard a 58-foot yacht being murdered.

The Times reported that an F.B.I. hostage-rescue negotiator aboard the U.S.S. Sterett Naval ship was skeptical that two pirates who came aboard were serious about negotiating.

The Times reported the Americans subsequently held the two and sent word back to the yacht to send over someone serious about talking. The Times said what happened after is in dispute.

The paper reported that a fight broke out among the leaderless pirates, who may have feared being attacked by the Navy warships. The paper also wrote that “one person who has talked to associates of the pirates said their leader had told them that if he did not return, they should kill the hostages, though American officials say they do not know that to be the case.”

To read more click here.

Fed Jury Convicts 5 Pirates in Attack on USS Nicholas

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — They may not have fit the stereotype of Hollywood, but a federal jury in Norfolk, Va., nonetheless convicted five men from Somalia of engaging in piracy for their attack in April on the USS Nicholas, authorities said. It was believed to be the first piracy trial conviction in the United States since 1820.

“Today marks the first jury conviction of piracy in more than 190 years,” said U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride of Alexandria. “These five Somali pirates were convicted of an armed assault on the high seas against what they thought was a merchant vessel, but turned out to be a U.S. Navy frigate engaged in counter-piracy operations off the Horn of Africa.

“Modern-day pirates not only threaten human lives but also disrupt international commerce by extorting hundreds of millions of dollars in ransom payments,” he said.

The conviction came after nine days of trial. Those convicted included: Mohammed Modin Hasan, Gabul Abdullahi Ali, Abdi Wali Dire, Abdi Mohammed Gurewardher and Abdi Mohammed Umar, all from Somalia.

Authorities said they face a mandatory penalty of life in prison when they are sentenced on March 14, 2011.

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FBI Hostage Negotiators Join in Piracy Caper on the High-Seas

horn_of_africaThe FBI has entered the picture, hoping to solve this latest chapter in what has been a mind-boggling pattern of craziness on the high- seas. Nations around the world have to figure out a way to put a stop to this madness.

WASHINGTON (AP) – FBI hostage negotiators joined U.S. Navy efforts Thursday to free an American cargo ship captain held captive on a lifeboat by Somali pirates. A U.S. destroyer and a spy plane kept a close watch in the high-seas standoff near the Horn of Africa.

The pirates tried to hijack the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama on Wednesday, but Capt. Richard Phillips thwarted their takeover by telling his crew of about 20 to lock themselves in a room, the crew told stateside relatives.

The crew later overpowered some of the pirates, but Phillips surrendered himself to the bandits to safeguard his crew, and at least four of them fled with him to an enclosed lifeboat, the relatives said. It was the first such attack on American sailors in about 200 years.

For Full Story

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