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Homeland Security

US Court Sentences Somali Pirate to Nearly 34 Years

VOA News February 16, 2011

A U.S. court has sentenced a Somali pirate to 33 years and nine months in prison for his role in the hijacking of an American cargo ship.

The Somali man, Abduwali Abdiqadir Muse, pleaded guilty last year to hijacking the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama in the Indian Ocean, near Somalia.

Prosecutors say Muse led a band of pirates who briefly seized the Maersk and its crew in April of 2009.

The U.S. Navy took him into custody during an operation that killed three other pirates and freed American captain Richard Phillips.

Muse previously told a court through an interpreter that what he did was wrong and he is sorry for his actions.

The defense had asked the New York court for a reduced sentence of 27 years in prison.

Somali pirates have hijacked dozens of ships over the past few years, and taken in hundreds of millions of dollars in ransom money. International naval patrols near Somalia have failed to stop the pirate attacks.

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