Life in Prison for Somali Pirates who Murdered Four Americans

MarineLink.com
Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Somali nationals Ahmed Muse Salad, a/k/a “Afmagalo,” 25, Abukar Osman Beyle, 20, and Shani Nurani Shiekh Abrar, 29, who were previously found guilty by jury of all 26 counts charged to include piracy, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, hostage taking resulting in death, kidnapping resulting in death and multiple firearms offenses, were sentenced today by a federal jury. The three defendants were sentenced to life-in-prison for their roles in the February 22, 2011 murder of four Americans aboard the sailing vessel Quest. The victims included: Scott Underwood Adam, Jean Savage Adam, Phyllis Patricia Macay and Robert Campbell Riggle.

Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, George Venizelos, Assistant Director in Charge (ADIC) of the FBI’s New York Field Office; Royce E. Curtin, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office, and Michael Monroe, Special Agent in Charge of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), made the announcement after the sentence was accepted by Chief United States District Court Judge Rebecca Beach Smith.

“Four Americans were taken hostage, terrorized and then murdered. Life in prison is reserved for those who commit heinous crimes – and the jury today decided the execution of four innocent Americans on the high seas meets that high bar,” said United States Attorney Neil H. MacBride. “Scott Adam, Jean Adam, Phyllis Macay, and Robert Riggle lost their lives and their families lost their loved ones. Nothing can make this right; nothing can make their families whole again – but we hope today’s verdict and sentences will bring some closure to their nightmare that began two years ago on the Indian Ocean.”

“This case exemplifies the ongoing, outstanding cooperation between federal law enforcement and federal prosecutors,” said Norfolk SAC Royce Curtin. “Today’s sentencing should send a clear message to anyone committing acts of criminal violence against American citizens at sea that they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Assistant Director-in-Charge Venizelos stated, “Pirates armed with AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades took four innocent Americans hostage aboard their own vessel. When negotiations reached an impasse, one pirate launched a grenade at a nearby U.S. Navy ship while others murdered four Americans aboard the Quest. Today’s life sentences provide a vigorous deterrent for armed bandits roaming our seas. The FBI's commitment to stopping this scourge of violence is unwavering.”

The defendants were previously indicted on July 8, 2011, by a federal grand jury on 26 counts, which included conspiracy to commit hostage taking, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, kidnapping resulting in death, conspiracy to commit violence against maritime navigation resulting in death, piracy, and firearms offenses. The defendants were convicted on all 26 counts on July 8, 2013. According to court records and evidence at trial, Salad, Beyle, Abrar and others—armed with firearms and a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG)—boarded the Quest while the four Americans slept on February 18, 2011. They gained control of the vessel and took the four American citizens as hostages. Their plan was to take the hostages to Somalia, where they and their additional co-conspirators in Somalia could commence ransom negotiations. While they sailed toward Somalia, the three defendants and their coconspirators were taking turns standing armed guard over the hostages; at the same time, United States Navy ships headed towards the Quest to aid the hostages and prevent the Quest from proceeding to Somalia.

Beginning on February 19, 2011, communications had been established and the United States Navy and the FBI began negotiating with the pirates to secure the safe release of the hostages. On February 21, 2011, two co-conspirators representing the pirates onboard the Quest, were transferred to the USS Sterett to negotiate. The negotiations reached an impasse when the co-conspirators were told that they were not going to be allowed to take the hostages ashore in Somalia. The decision was made to detain the co-conspirators after they refused to release the hostages and threatened to kill them if they were not allowed to return to Somalia.

Testimony revealed that Abrar fired a shot over the head of Scott Adam and instructed Adam to tell the Navy that if the military came any closer, the conspirators would kill the hostages.

On February 22, 2011, without provocation and before the hostages could be rescued by members of the military, a co-conspirator fired an RPG in the general direction of the USS Sterett. Witnesses testified that sustained firing came from the Quest and that glass could be seen breaking on the starboard side of the Quest. Witnesses also testified that Salad, Beyle, and Abrar were the shooters and responsible for the deaths of Scott Adam, Jean Adam, Phyllis Macay, and Robert Riggle. After the gun fire died down, the Navy dispatched SEALS to the Quest. The pirates aboard the Quest began surrendering and some were seen throwing AK-47 rifles into the water.

This case was investigated by the FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. Assistant United States Attorneys Joseph DePadilla, Brian J. Samuels, and Benjamin L. Hatch prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.

Maritime Reporter March 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Legal

Reports: Brazilian Tycoon Batista Investigated For Financial Crimes

Brazils federal police have opened an investigation into former billionaire Eike Batista for financial crimes, including insider trading, manipulation of markets and money laundering,

Shell Commited To Russia Expansion Despite Sanctions

Royal Dutch Shell is committed to expansion in Russia, Chief Executive Ben van Beurden told Russian President Vladimir Putin at a meeting on Friday amid sanctions

Ex-BP Employee Settles Insider-trading Oil Spill Case

A former 20-year veteran of BP plc who oversaw the company's cleanup efforts from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill will pay more than $224,000 to settle civil charges

Maritime Security

Coast Guard tactical air squadron holds change of command ceremony

Capt. Kevin P. Gavin relieved Capt. Donna L. Cottrell as commanding officer of Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron Jacksonville during a change of command ceremony at HITRON Friday.

Captain of capsized S Korean Ferry Arrested

The captain of a South Korean ferry that capsized, leaving 29 people dead and 274 others missing, was arrested on Saturday, the country's Yonhap news agency said.

Homeland Security Secretary Visits Ingalls Shipbuilding

Huntington Ingalls Industries' Ingalls Shipbuilding division apprises it has hosted a visit by Secretary of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and U.S. Rep.

Casualties

Sunken Korea Ferry Relatives Give DNA Swabs To Help Identify Dead

Some relatives of the more than 200 children missing in a sunken South Korean ferry offered DNA swabs on Saturday to help identify the dead as the rescue turned

Bodies found trapped in S Korean ferry

Divers searching for survivors of a capsized South Korean ferry saw three bodies floating through a window of a passenger cabin on Saturday but were unable to retrieve them,

Captain of capsized S Korean Ferry Arrested

The captain of a South Korean ferry that capsized, leaving 29 people dead and 274 others missing, was arrested on Saturday, the country's Yonhap news agency said.

News

Sunken Korea Ferry Relatives Give DNA Swabs To Help Identify Dead

Some relatives of the more than 200 children missing in a sunken South Korean ferry offered DNA swabs on Saturday to help identify the dead as the rescue turned

DNV's accredatation for Neosho Memorial

Neosho Memorial Regional Medical Center, Chanute, has completed a new accreditation process from Det Norske Veritas Healthcare. By earning accreditation, Neosho

India's Reliance Q4 Sales Rise

Indian energy company Reliance Industries Ltd posted nearly flat fourth-quarter profits, in line with estimates, as a slimmer margin in its oilrefining business offset higher revenue.

Maritime Safety

Coast Guard tactical air squadron holds change of command ceremony

Capt. Kevin P. Gavin relieved Capt. Donna L. Cottrell as commanding officer of Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron Jacksonville during a change of command ceremony at HITRON Friday.

RS at SEA JAPAN 2014

Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RS) was the only Russian company to take part in SEA JAPAN 2014 exhibition and conference – one of the major exhibitions of the maritime industry.

Bodies found trapped in S Korean ferry

Divers searching for survivors of a capsized South Korean ferry saw three bodies floating through a window of a passenger cabin on Saturday but were unable to retrieve them,

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Naval Architecture Offshore Oil Pipelines Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.0950 sec (11 req/sec)