Dutch sentence Somalia men of piracy based on colonial era law. The Europeans and the U.S. have warships in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
2 Somali pirates get life in killing of US hostages
August 23, 2011
NORFOLK, Va. - A pair of Somali men were sentenced to life in prison yesterday for their roles in the hijacking of a yacht that left all four Americans on board dead. One of the men argued he had unsuccessfully tried to persuade his fellow pirates that the two women on board should be released.
The owners of the Quest, Jean and Scott Adam of Marina del Rey, Calif., along with friends Bob Riggle and Phyllis Macay of Seattle, were shot to death in February several days after being taken hostage several hundred miles south of Oman. They were the first Americans to be killed in a wave of piracy that has plagued the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean in recent years.
“Piracy is a scourge that threatens nations, commerce, and individual lives,’’ US Attorney Neil MacBride said in a statement. “Today’s sentences send a message to all those who participate in piracy that armed attacks on the high seas carry lifelong consequences.’’
A band of pirates had hoped to take the Americans back to Somalia so they could be ransomed, but that plan fell apart when four US Navy warships began shadowing them.
The Navy offered to let the pirates take the yacht in exchange for the hostages, but the pirates said they wouldn’t get the kind of money they wanted for it.
During sentencing in federal court, Burhan Abdirahman Yusuf’s attorney, Robert Rigney, said Yusuf had argued that Jean Adam and Macay should be released. However, Yusuf was only a guard aboard the boat and was not considered a leader by the others.