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Fri 11 Mar 2011 10:26 AM

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Somali pirates in US court after Oman yacht hijack

Four Americans died in the hijacking off the coast of Oman

Somali pirates in US court after Oman yacht hijack
Four Americans died in the hijacking off the coast of Oman
Somali pirates in US court after Oman yacht hijack
Four Americans died in the hijacking off the coast of Oman

The US
Justice Department charged 13 Somalis and one Yemeni with piracy and kidnapping
in connection with the seizure and death last month of four Americans on a
yacht in waters off the coast of Oman.

The 14 men
were indicted by a federal grand jury on piracy, kidnapping and weapons charges
and appeared today before a US magistrate in Norfolk, Virginia, Peter Carr, a
spokesman for US Attorney Neil MacBride, said in an interview.

The pirates
killed the four Americans hostages aboard their boat, the Quest, on February 22
before US military forces attacked, the government charged. The hijackers, who
had seized the boat four days earlier, were killed or captured, according to
the US Central Command.

“At least
three of the defendants on board the Quest intentionally shot and killed the
United States citizens,” according to the March 8 indictment unsealed today.

The
military had attempted to secure the hostages’ release through negotiations,
according to the indictment. The 14 men were charged with piracy, conspiracy to
commit kidnapping and possession, and use of a firearm during a crime of violence.

A detention
hearing for the defendants is scheduled for March 15, Carr said.

The
Americans aboard the Quest were Scott and Jean Adam, who owned the yacht, from
Marina del Rey, California, and Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle of Washington
state.

“These fourteen men are alleged to have been
willing to do anything, including killing their hostages, in a vain attempt to
obtain ransom,” Janice Fedarcyk, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s
assistant director-in-charge of the New York field office, said in a statement.
“It is a crime against the international community, a form of terrorism on the
high seas,” she said.

The
defendants face mandatory life sentences if convicted of either the piracy or
kidnapping charge, according to the Justice Department. The weapons charge has
a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years.

The
boarding team “discovered all four hostages had been shot by their captors,”
and, though they were found alive and first aid was applied, they soon died,
according to a US Central Command statement.

During the
search of the vessel, the boarding team of US special forces killed two
pirates, one in a knife fight and the other by gunshot, and found two others
already dead, Vice Admiral Mark Fox, commander of the US Navy 5th Fleet, said
on February 22. The US took 14 men into custody, the indictment said.

The alleged
pirates, according to the indictment, were armed with a grenade launcher and
AK-47 and FAL rifles. Additional weapons were thrown overboard by the
defendants, the indictment states.

The US
commandos were launched in small boats after the pirates fired a rocket-propelled
grenade at a US warship 549 meters away and gunfire was heard on the yacht, Fox
said.

The Quest
hijacking was the 11th this year in the region. In 2010, 49 vessels were
hijacked, three fewer than in 2009, according to the office.

Christine B.Osborne 8 years ago

Let the Somalis who killed the four yachtsmen receive life sentences without parole. It must be a lesson to others that neither America, nor other nations, will tolerate their activities especially when it involves cold blooded murder.

Ron Barnes 8 years ago

Why do we waste time capturing the pirates? Kill them on the spot and maybe other pirates will be deterred from other action and lives will be saved.

gordon 8 years ago

indeed...if you go to Europe as a pirate, you get paid a nice salary while in prison. then you get a chance to stay in the country....where is the deterrence in that?

ARK 8 years ago

The best sentence is a death sentence.