Somali pirate gets 12 life sentences in hijackings

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A federal court judge in Norfolk, Va., ordered a Somali pirate on Monday to serve a dozen life sentences in prison for his role in the hijacking of a German merchant vessel and a U.S. cruising sailboat, saying the hostage negotiator was lucky he wasn’t facing the death penalty.

Mohammad Saaili Shibin is considered by U.S. authorities to be the highest-ranking pirate they have ever captured. Shibin had direct ties to those who finance pirate operations from ashore in largely lawless Somalia.

Four Americans aboard the Quest were shot to death by pirates off the coast of Africa in 2011, and the crew on the other vessel was tortured to get a higher ransom in 2010.

“I think this case explodes the myth, if still it exists out there, that pirates are some kind of romantic swashbuckling characters from Hollywood summer movies. This case showed that pirates are brutal, greedy, reckless, desperate criminals who will kidnap, torture and ultimately kill hostages in pursuit of their financial greed,” U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride told the Associated Press after the sentencing.

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Meanwhile, a report by Reuters said that in 2011 Somali pirates reportedly cost the world economy $7 billion and earned $160 million in ransoms.

In related news, Armed Piracy Defense, a private firm based in southern Florida, is offering security services for ships.

“APD is an anti-piracy security company that provides armed security teams for vessels transiting piracy-prone waters, providing armed and unarmed protection forces and guards to ships transiting through the Horn of Africa, the Gulf of Aden, Somalia and the Red Sea,” the company said on its website. “All our security personnel are individually selected from the elite ranks of the Navy SEALs.”

For $3,500 to $3,800 a day, ships can hire three guards to keep their crew and cargo safe.


4 comments on “Somali pirate gets 12 life sentences in hijackings

  1. marty

    This is not good at all. He kills four innocent people and they give him twelve life sentences. So much for the policy that the US government noes not negotiate with terrorists. Oh must be part of OBAMA’s new plan. Take him out and hang him from a yardarm.

  2. Captain Tom

    What possible reason could you have for connecting this crime to the current, or any, president? If you insist on simplistic thinking, please don’t embarrass your fellow readers of this website.

  3. Capt Rob

    Federal (and States) Attorney’s routinely deal down out of the death penalty if they feel the circumstances have any chance at being unsuccessful. Personally, I’m not sure what those circumstances could have possibly been in this case. What I am sure of is that it had nothing to do with the sitting President and I agree with Capt Tom about simplistic thinking. He was gracious in that description. Critics are the same people that would scream bloody murder if a legislator at any level tried to influence a federal judge about anything. Come November we’ll see how the country feels about their candidate.

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