[QODLink]
Americas
US gives Somali pirate negotiator life terms
Mohammad Shibin receives 12 life sentences for role as middleman in abduction of four Americans from a yacht in 2011.
Last Modified: 14 Aug 2012 10:51
In 2011, Somali piracy cost the world economy $7bn and earned the pirates some $160m in ransoms [EPA]

A Somali man who acted as a hostage negotiator for pirates who seized an American yacht last year and killed four American hostages has been sentenced by a US federal judge to serve 12 life sentences.

In a courtroom in Norfolk, Virginia, US District Judge Robert Doumar on Tuesday sentenced Mohammad Shibin to serve 10 concurrent life sentences, two consecutive life sentences and two 20-year sentences and ordered him to pay $5.4m in restitution.

Shibin was convicted in April on 15 charges including piracy, hostage taking, kidnapping and conspiracy.

He was paid $30,000 to $50,000 in cash for his negotiating services, according to a federal indictment.

"Mohammad Shibin was a key participant in two of the most heinous acts of piracy in modern memory," US Attorney Neil MacBride said in a statement.

Pirates commandeered an American yacht carrying Jean and Scott Adam of California and Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle from Seattle in February 2011 off the coast of Somalia.

All four hostages were killed despite attempts by the US military to negotiate their release.

Lucrative ransoms

Prosecutors said Shibin was among an elite group whose skills were needed to negotiate ransoms.

"The Somalia piracy criminal enterprise could not function without skilled negotiators like Shibin and his multiple life sentences should put all pirates on notice that the Justice Department will hold you accountable in an US courtroom for crimes on the high seas," MacBride said.

According to evidence presented at trial, Shibin researched the background of the hostages over the internet to determine how much ransom to demand and to find family members to contact for the payments, prosecutors said.

Shibin also served as a ransom negotiator for pirates who seized the M/V Marida Marguerite in 2010.

The German-owned vessel had a crew of 22 men who were held hostage for seven months starting in May 2010 and reported being tortured.

In 2011, Somali piracy cost the world economy $7bn and earned the pirates some $160m in ransoms, according to a recent report by the International Maritime Bureau.

337

Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
People are starving in southern Somalia while relief efforts are blocked by government and rebel fighting.
Some scientists say authorities in favour of nuclear energy tend to deny the negative results of researchers.
Report on child sex abuse in British Asian community highlights issues that may affect the entire nation.
Taliban makes quick gains in Afghanistan with little opposition from Afghan army as US withdrawal begins.
Experts from Minamata, Japan check for signs of mercury illnesses in Ontario, Canada.
join our mailing list