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May 18, 2010

Somali pirate takes a federal plea to hijacking charge to limit sentencing exposure

As detailed in this USA Today article, the "Somali man who helped commandeer the cargo ship Maersk Alabama last year has pleaded guilty in federal court in New York."  Here is why:

Abduwali Abdukhadir Muse avoided life in prison after prosecutors dropped piracy charges.  He's facing 27 to 33 years in prison for pleading guilty to seizing a ship by force and kidnapping when he and three others attacked the ship as it passed off the coast of Somalia in April 2009. He was the only pirate to survive; his companions were killed by Navy Seals during the rescue of Capt. Richard Phillips and his crew.

He'll face a different fate from some of his countrymen. Earlier today in Yemen, six Somali pirates were sentenced to death for hijacking a Yemeni oil tanker, also in April 2009, Reuters reported. One Yemeni crewmember was killed and another is missing and presumed dead.

May 18, 2010 at 09:22 PM | Permalink


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The cost of the trial likely exceeded the damage he did as a pirate. This is ridiculous lawyer rip off of the innocent US taxpayer.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | May 18, 2010 11:15:29 PM

this is preposterous... i have scores of clients looking at triple the time for merely coming back into the U.S. illegally. This guy is a PIRATE, for chrissake! Why arrest this bum to give him so little time? What about general deterrence?

Posted by: Francisco Valcarcel | May 19, 2010 11:08:46 AM

Francisco, did you notice the article said "27 to 33 YEARS"? I don't see how "scores" of individuals being sentenced for violating 8 USC 1326 (under 2L1.2) could be looking at 81 to 99 years. That many months, certainly; but not years.

Posted by: DEJ | May 19, 2010 11:38:37 AM

It's good to see the feds working on something they're actually supposed to be doing: catching pirates. Though I notice they dropped the piracy charge.

The precision of the Dread Pirate Muse's sentence is remarkable...27 to 33 years. Leaves one to wonder what he might have done differently that would have fixed his sentence at 26 or 28 years to 32 or 34 years?

Such precision helps quell the feeling it's completely arbitrary.

BTW: what's piracy if not seizing ships and kidnapping crews?

Posted by: John K | May 19, 2010 12:40:28 PM

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