Life Sentences Recommended for Somali Pirates

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Life sentences have been recommended by the jury in the case of three Somali pirates who murdered four Americans in a standoff in the Indian Ocean along the African coast after the pirates boarded the Americans’ yacht and kidnapped the passengers — attempting to divert the yacht to Somalia — in hope of a large ransom.
The Americans, Scott Adam, Jean Adam, Phyllis Macay, and Robert Riggle, were killed via gunfire in the standoff, which according to the <a href=”http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-08-02/world/41002236_1_jean-adam-robert-riggle-somali-pirates”>Washington Post</a> escalated after American warships began trailing the stolen yacht.
While government prosecutors had pursued the death sentence for the kidnappers, the jury — under the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia — elected to forego this option. It is the first time federal prosecutors have demanded the death penalty regarding Somali pirates.
The Washington Post quotes Michael Scharf, a legal expert on Somali piracy from Case Western University as saying that the desire by the prosecution to bring the death penalty was meant as a sort of warning shot to other pirates who do not fear the foreign prison sentences awaiting them if they are caught.
Scharf cites the conditions of extreme poverty in Somalia — one of the world’s poorest and most violent nations — that propel the epidemic of piracy in the country. Criminals who elect to pursue such means of crime from the shipping channels of wealthier nations are often not afraid of prosecution, since the prospect of food and shelter in prison with a relatively light sentence is often preferable to the survival tactics used in Somalia.
It is a major question as the situation deteriorates in Somalia and more and more foreign countries ask how to handle the growing rash of extreme violence that often accompanies episodes of piracy, of which the recent example of the three pirates persecuted by the American government seems to be a sort of tipping point.
Life sentences have been recommended by the jury in the case of three Somali pirates who murdered four Americans in a standoff in the Indian Ocean along the African coast after the pirates boarded the Americans’ yacht and kidnapped the passengers — attempting to divert the yacht to Somalia — in hope of a large ransom.
The Americans, Scott Adam, Jean Adam, Phyllis Macay, and Robert Riggle, were killed via gunfire in the standoff, which according to the Washington Post escalated after American warships began trailing the stolen yacht.
While government prosecutors had pursued the death sentence for the kidnappers, the jury — under the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia — elected to forego this option. It is the first time federal prosecutors have demanded the death penalty regarding Somali pirates.
The Washington Post quotes Michael Scharf, a legal expert on Somali piracy from Case Western University as saying that the desire by the prosecution to bring the death penalty was meant as a sort of warning shot to other pirates who do not fear the foreign prison sentences awaiting them if they are caught.
Scharf cites the conditions of extreme poverty in Somalia — one of the world’s poorest and most violent nations — that propel the epidemic of piracy in the country. Criminals who elect to pursue such means of crime from the shipping channels of wealthier nations are often not afraid of prosecution, since the prospect of food and shelter in prison with a relatively light sentence is often preferable to the survival tactics used in Somalia.
It is a major question as the situation deteriorates in Somalia and more and more foreign countries ask how to handle the growing rash of extreme violence that often accompanies episodes of piracy, of which the recent example of the three pirates persecuted by the American government seems to be a sort of tipping point.

 

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