Accused Somali pirates plead not guilty in U.S. court

08:51, July 21, 2011      

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Three accused Somali pirates on Wednesday pleaded not guilty in a U.S. court to charges of killing four Americans on a hijacked yacht off the coast of the Horn of Africa in February.

The accused, Ahmed Muse Salad, Abukar Osman Beyle and Shani Nurani Shiekh Abrar, made the plea in a federal court in Norfolk, Virginia. They were accused of 26 counts of charges related to taking two American couples hostage in the waters off Somalia and killing them. Most of the charges are punishable by death if convicted.

The four killed Americans were Jean and Scott Adam of California and Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle from Seattle. Their vessel was seized by 14 Somali and Yemeni pirates. U.S. military tried to negotiate their release, but the talks broke down and the couples were killed by their captors. U.S. special forces subsequently captured the pirates.

The other 11 defendants all pleaded guilty to charges related to commandeering the vessel but not killing the Americans.

Source: Xinhua
 
 
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