Friday, April 27, 2012

Somali guilty of piracy

Somali guilty of piracy for deadly hijacking of U.S. yacht

A U.S. jury has convicted a Somali man of piracy for acting as a hostage negotiator in the hijacking of a California-based yacht that cost four Americans their lives, the Associated Press reports from Norfolk, Va.

Mohammad Saaili Shibin was convicted of piracy, kidnapping and hostage-taking for the February 2011 hijacking of the Quest off the east coast of Africa and for the seizure of a German merchant ship in 201o. He faces mandatory life in prison for piracy.

Shibin was among 14 Somalis and one Yemeni who were charged in the yacht hijacking. At least 10 have pleaded guilty; three were charged with murder

Shibin was hunted down and arrested in April 2011 inside Somalia by FBI agents and the U.S. military. The indictment says Shibin researched the four Americans on the Internet to determine how much of a ransom to seek and to identify family members they should contact, AP reported previously.

Prosecutors said Shibin received at least $30,000 for his role as a hostage negotiator aboard the German freighter, Marida Marguerite, which was ransomed for $5 million. No payment was ever made for the American yacht.

The boat owners, Christian missionaries Jean and Scott Adam of Marina del Rey, Calif., and friends Bob Riggle and Phyllis Macay of Seattle, were shot to death during a rescue attempt by U.S. forces.

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