I don’t often get into the Somali piracy issue, but this story is concerning. For firing on Navy vessels, shouldn’t these guys be treated as military combatants. Why are they in civilian courts in Virginia? Think about it, we are going to pay for their trials, then their incarceration for life (if they get life in prison) and what if they don’t, say they are released in a few years, where do they go then—will they seek asylum here? We don’t send asylum seekers back to ‘war-torn’ Somalia!
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Eleven suspected pirates from Somalia have been brought to the United States to face piracy and other charges for attacks on two U.S. Navy ships off the coast of Africa, the Justice Department said on Friday.
It said the suspects were scheduled to appear on Friday in federal court in Norfolk, Virginia. The 11 men had been held on U.S. ships for weeks off Somalia’s coast as U.S. officials decided what to do with them. [You can bet Holder’s gang in the Justice Dept. was saying, s…, we can’t send them to Gitmo]
Five defendants were captured after the March 31 attack in which the Navy frigate, the USS Nicholas, exchanged fire with a suspected pirate vessel in the Indian Ocean west of the Seychelles, sinking a skiff and confiscating its mother ship.
Two of the accused pirates opened fire at night on what they believed to be a merchant ship, but it actually was the Navy vessel, according to U.S. court documents filed in the case.
In the other incident, six defendants were charged with the April 10 attack on another Navy vessel, the USS Ashland, in the Gulf of Aden. They allegedly opened fire on the vessel with small arms from their boat.
In addition to piracy, the criminal charges included attacks to plunder a vessel, assault with a dangerous weapon, and use of a firearm during a crime of violence.
If convicted of piracy, the suspects face a mandatory sentence of life in prison, a Justice Department spokesman said.
Thomas Jefferson knew what to do with Muslim pirates on the African coast and he didn’t bring them to Virginia to stand trial in a civilian court.
For more information, see this post from April of last year about how quasi-American Omar Jamal of Minneapolis (now of the UN!) dashed off to NYC to defend the only other pirate brought to the US. Look for more of the same sort of publicity hounds as this story develops.
Update: Andrew McCarthy weighs in on piracy here.