Skip to comments.Five Somalis found guilty of piracy charges in Norfolk
Posted on 11/24/2010 12:08:44 PM PST by csvset
In a historic decision, a jury in federal court today convicted five Somali nationals of piracy in the April 1 attack on the Norfolk-based frigate Nicholas.
Its the first time in nearly 200 years that a jury returned a guilty verdict in a piracy case in a U.S. court and now likely sets up years of appeals. The five men face mandatory life in prison.
Each defendant stood without expression as the court clerk announced guilty verdicts on each of 14 counts. Their lawyers were polling the jury to ensure the verdict was read correctly.
The jury deliberated about 10 hours over two days before reaching its decision.
Turn them over to the Russians.
Two words... TORT REFORM....
Probably shouldn't do that, they might set them free. :-)
have we no yardarms?
We have twelve yardarms. Hang em high.
All future pirate trials should be put into the hands of the Russians. They know how to deal with them...”Comrades, you are free to go and we now release you..unfortunately, the raft has a slight leak and you are at least 200 miles from shore. We also are not sure in which direction ‘shore’ is. Ha, Ha. Say Hi to the fishes and keep your chin up (for as long as you can)”
Only in the British Navy, I think. ;-)
Turn them over to the Chinese. There is a big problem with piracy in the Asian seas, and the ones caught by the Chinese are usually executed within a few days.
Now a stiff fine and 200 hours of community service is in order for these ruffians! :)
Mandatory life in prison where they will direct piracy operations, win love and praise from liberals throughout the world, demand special privileges based on their “religion” while millions of decent Americans look for a job so that they can pay for it.
Anyone who knows what that's from gets a free cookie.
Will the Embassy bomber get life?
These guys obviously turned to piracy because they had trouble finding jobs — and everyone knows that idle hands are the devil’s playthings. So the kind thing to do is find some occupation they can do that will keep them busy for the rest of their lives.
A job like . . . stretching rope.
(Hey it worked for the Royal Navy back in the nineteenth century.)
I bet the WH is upset at this?!
Yeah, think of the infamous Chicago Olympic ouster.
Guilty? Are you sure? The pirates are guilty? Am I hearing this correctly, the pirates are guilty?
I'm okay with that. The Russians "set them free" 2000 miles from land; with no food, water, or navigation equipment; in a leaky inflatable boat, and sometimes with holes in their bodies. That strikes me as a good solution to the problem, especially if an occasional survivor makes it back to dry land.
The ten Somali pirates captured by the Russian navy last week may have perished after their release. Marines seized them during an operation to free a hijacked Russian oil tanker far from shore. Russia initially said the 10 pirates would be taken to Moscow to face criminal charges, but, and at Western officials surprise, were released instead. Now there is even more surprise, the pirates were set adrift in the Indian Ocean to make their own way home.
The tanker, the Moscow University, was seized on the 5th of May, some 350 km off the Yemeni island of Socotra, as it sailed for China. And the Marines from the Russian warship stormed the Tanker the following day, freeing the 23 Russian crew members who had locked themselves in a safe room after disabling their ship. The Russian navy had been within its rights to release the suspects, the spokesman for the E.U Navforce in Somalia said...
Turn them over to the Russians.
Probably shouldn’t do that, they might set them free. :-)”””
I am not so sure.
Russia had an oil tanker (I think) that was pirated off Somalia. Demands for ransom were made.
Russian military ship & sailors found the ship with the pirates on board, along with the pirate’s ship in attendance.
They stormed the ship—handcuffed all the pirates to the rails of their boat & blew it up waaaay out in the ocean, away from land. Sent the boat to the bottom, with all the pirates handcuffed to the debris.
That’s the way to deal with pirates, IMO !!!!!
“Old Ironsides” ! Plus many Privateers!
LOL! Nice hat.
been a bad week for Somalis:
“Appeals Court: Khat is illegal in Minnesota”
Sir Walter Scott? Or maybe Gilbert & Sullivan? And it should be a shortbread cookie.
And don’t forget to serve them hallal food and provide them with a Koran.
When can they expect their new jobs in the 0bama administration?
I wonder how much weight the skinnys have gained since they have been living off our dime? Hang the bastards.
In a historic decision Wednesday, a jury in federal court convicted five Somali nationals of piracy in the April 1 attack on the Norfolk-based frigate Nicholas.
They face mandatory terms of life in prison when they are sentenced March 14.
It’s the first time in nearly 200 years that a jury returned a guilty verdict in a piracy case in a U.S. court, a verdict that likely sets up years of appeals.
The Somalis - Mohammed Modin Hasan, Gabul Abdullahi Ali, Abdi Wali Dire, Abdi Mohammed Gurewardher and Abdi Mohammed Umar - all were found guilty of piracy under the law of nations and 13 related counts.
Each defendant stood without expression as the court clerk read from the verdict sheet, announcing “guilty” 70 times. Later, after the judge and jury left, defendant Gurewardher became visibly upset, waving off his attorney and refusing to sign papers that had been pushed in front of him.
“He’d been stoic throughout,” Gurewardher’s attorney, Jon Babineau, said. “Now he knows he’s going to die in a U.S. prison unless there is some appellate success.”
The defendants, dressed in collared shirts and oversized sport coats borrowed from the court, sat quietly through the 12-day trial, listening through ear pieces as a translator interpreted the testimony.
U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride said he hopes the convictions will send a message to other would-be pirates that such attacks won’t be tolerated.
“Today’s conviction demonstrates that armed attacks on U.S.-flagged vessels are crimes against the international community and that pirates will face severe consequences in U.S. courts,” MacBride said in a conference call afterward.
Defense attorneys balked at that notion, pointing out that pirate attacks are continuing at a record rate this year. Somali pirates are currently holding 18 merchant ships and 380 crew members hostage while awaiting ransom payments.
“There’s no way for them to get the message over there,” said William Holmes, who represented Ali.
David Bouchard, who defended Dire, questioned the resources that have been put into this case and expense that the government now faces housing the men for the rest of their lives.
Bouchard did the math: If the defendants, all in their mid-20s, live another 50 years it will cost the government $10 million to house them, assuming the cost remains at roughly $40,000 a year per inmate.
“And for what?” Bouchard asked. “I could see if they killed somebody or actually got on the ship.”
Bouchard described the five Somalis as the Marx Brothers of piracy. Dire, Ali and Hasan were in a small skiff, armed with AK-47s and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, when they mistook the Nicholas for a merchant vessel. According to the government, they fired several shots and fled after realizing their mistake.
Those three were captured a short time later. The other two, Umar and Gurewardher, were caught a few hours later floating in a broken-down mother ship, loaded with enough fuel and water to last several weeks.
The jury apparently did not buy the explanations of the five men. Three testified that they had been kidnapped by real pirates and forced to take part in the attack. The government has acknowledged that a third vessel had gotten away that night, but points to the confessions of the men, who told investigators that 10 of them left Somalia in three boats intent on capturing a merchant vessel for ransom.
This is the first time since the Civil War that a jury has been asked to rule on a piracy case, according to legal scholars. That ended in a hung jury. The last jury conviction of pirates is believed to have occurred in 1819, which set a U.S. Supreme Court precedent.
This case, and a related one involving an attack on the Ashland, a Little Creek-based amphibious dock landing ship, will also likely set precedent.
The Ashland case is already on appeal. Another judge in the Norfolk federal court threw out the piracy charge, putting that trial on hold. The Nicholas case will now go to the same appeals court, setting up a likely showdown with both before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Babineau, the lawyer for Gurewardher, said not only is the definition of piracy at issue but the harsh U.S. penalty for it should be challenged as well. He cited a piracy trial currently ongoing in Germany where the defendants would face a maximum of 15 years in prison if convicted. Other countries, such as the Netherlands, have even less severe penalties. In other attacks, pirates have simply been sent home, he said.
“I just have a hard time making sense of that in a system that’s supposedly based on fairness,” he said.
Babineau tried to keep his client’s spirits up. As marshals began leading the Somalis out of court, Babineau held out his arm and gave Gurewardher a fist pump, telling him to “hang in there.”
Tim McGlone, (757) 446-2343, firstname.lastname@example.org
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