Thursday, September 9, 2010

Somali Pirate Pleads Guilty In U.S.

A Somali pirate pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy charges Wednesday in Washington, in what officials said is a first for the District of Columbia.
The U.S. Justice Department said in a release 38-year-old Jama Idle Ibrahim, aka Jaamac Ciidle, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to conspiracy to commit piracy under the law of nations, and conspiracy to use a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence for taking part in the armed takeover of the Danish-flagged vessel MV/CEC Future in the Gulf of Aden in November 2008.

Under his plea agreement, the two sides agree a 25-year prison sentence is appropriate, though no date was set for the sentencing.

Justice officials said it is the first plea for a piracy-related offense in the District of Columbia.

U.S. authorities say Ibrahim and other Somalis were armed with AK-47s, rocket-propelled grenades and handguns when they seized the Future, which contained cargo belonging to a Texas company, McDermott International Inc.

The vessel's owners paid a ransom to free the ship and its crew on Jan. 14, 2009, and the last Somali pirate left the ship two days later, 71 days after the ship was commandeered.

Ibrahim also pleaded guilty Aug. 27 in federal court in Virginia to charges he and other Somali pirates fired on the USS Ashland April 10, mistaking the U.S. Navy warship for a merchant ship.

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