5 Somalis convicted of piracy in USS Ashland case

5 Somalis convicted of piracy in USS Ashland case

Credit: U.S. Navy

100410-N-6110S-263 GULF OF ADEN (April 10, 2010) The burned out hull of a suspected pirate skiff drifts near the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48). Ashland while operating approximately 330 nautical miles off the coast of Djibouti, was fired upon and returned fire disabling a skiff manned by suspected pirates. Ashland deployed a visit, board, search and seizure team to rescue the suspects from the sea. USS Ashland is part of the Nassau Amphibious Ready Group and 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, currently supporting Maritime Security Operations (MSO) and Theater Security Cooperation (TSC) Operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jason R. Zalasky/Released)

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Associated Press

Posted on February 27, 2013 at 3:52 PM

NORFOLK (AP) -- A federal jury has convicted five Somali men of piracy for the 2010 attack on the USS Ashland.
 
The verdict was issued in Norfolk on Wednesday. A piracy conviction carries a mandatory life sentence.
 
The men originally had the piracy charges dismissed by a federal judge because they never boarded or robbed the Virginia-based amphibious dock landing ship. But a federal appeals court reversed that decision, sending the case back to trial.
 
Defense attorneys had argued the men were returning to Somalia after ferrying refugees to Yemen when they came across the ship. They said an AK-47 was fired in the Ashland's direction to get its attention so it could help them.
 
The Navy returned fire, setting their skiff on fire and killing one.
 

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