9 July 2013

Somalia: U.S Court Convicts Somalis of Piracy and Murder

A U.S. federal court has found three Somali men guilty of hijacking a boat and killing four Americans in 2011 off the coast of Somalia.

Following a five week jury trial in Norfolk, Virginia, Ahmed Muse Salad, Abukar Osman Beyle and Shani Nurani Shiekh Abrar were found guilty Monday on all 26 counts against them, including piracy and murder.

They face the possibility of the death penalty during a sentencing on July 22.

Eleven other defendants in the case earlier had pleaded guilty to piracy and were sentenced to life in prison.

They were involved with hijacking the yacht Quest in February 2011. The yacht's owners, Jean and Scott Adam and their friends, Bob Riggle and Phyllis Macay, all Americans, were shot to death after they were taken hostage at sea.

Prosecutors said one of the pirates fired a rocket propelled grenade at the American guided missile destroyer Sterett during hostage negotiations. Shortly thereafter, Salad, Beyle and Abrar opened fire on the hostages.

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