Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Take it like a man


Somali teen pirate to be tried as an adult in US court

NEW YORK — A teenaged pirate captured by US forces in a high-seas drama off Somalia was ordered to stand trial here as an adult on Tuesday.

Abduhl Wali-i-Musi, wearing a blue T-shirt and with head lowered as he entered the court with an interpreter, faces the mandatory life imprisonment if convicted on the most serious charge of piracy.

Judge Andrew Peck ruled the young Somali would be tried as an adult after rejecting a claim by the defendant’s father that Musi was only 15 years old. Prosecutors said he was over 18.

The five charges filed against Musi were piracy “under the law of nations”, conspiracy to seize a ship by force, conspiracy to take hostages, and discharging and brandishing a firearm in the course of a hostage-taking.

Musi was allegedly one of four Somali pirates who boarded the US container ship Maersk Alabama on April 8, and later fled taking its American captain, Richard Phillips, as a hostage in a small life boat.

Musi, who prosecutors described as the group’s leader, was taken into custody April 12 after he boarded the USS Bainbridge to demand safe passage in return for Mr Phillips’ release.

On the fifth day of the ordeal, US Navy snipers shot dead the other three pirates and rescued Mr Phillips.

The crew member who stabbed Musi said on Tuesday that the teenager counted himself lucky to raid a US ship and carried himself as the leader of the pirate gang.

“He was surprised he was on a US ship. He kept asking, ‘You all come from America?’ Then he claps and cheers and smiles. He caught himself a big fish. He can’t believe it,” crew member ATM “Zahid” Reza said.

He said Musi told him it was his dream to come to America. “His dreams come true, but he comes to the US not as a visitor, but as a prisoner,” Mr Reza said.


From TODAY, World – Thursday, 23-April-2009


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