14 November 2013

Somalia: Last of Somali Pirates Sentenced in Americans' Deaths

The last members of a group of Somali pirates convicted in the deaths of four Americans have been sentenced to multiple life terms.

A U.S. federal judge on Thursday ordered the two men to serve 21 life sentences, 19 of them consecutively. A third man received a similar sentence on Tuesday.

Prosecutors originally sought the death penalty for the three men, who were convicted of murder, piracy and other charges for their roles in the 2011 hijacking of a yacht off the coast of Africa.

Investigators said the three men were among 19 pirates who boarded the Quest with a goal of holding the four Americans for ransom. The yacht was owned by Jean and Scott Adam, who were traveling with two friends.

Prosecutors said one of the pirates fired a rocket propelled grenade toward a U.S. naval vessel after hostage negotiations had gotten under way.

They say that shortly thereafter, the three men who were sentenced this week opened fire on the hostages.

In a Thursday statement, acting U.S. Attorney Dana Boente said the multiple life sentences "send a clear message that piracy, hostage taking and murder" will not be tolerated.

Eleven other men who had boarded the yacht have already received life sentences. Four pirates died during the siege. One was released because he was a juvenile.

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