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Federal appeals court rules Somali pirate cannot withdraw plea deal

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit [official website] ruled [order, PDF] Wednesday that a Somali man convicted of piracy cannot withdraw his plea deal [JURIST report]. Abdiwali Abdiqadir Muse was the sole surviving pirate suspect from the hostage-taking of commercial ship captain Richard Phillips from the Maersk Alabama. Muse was prosecuted as an adult after the lower court determined he was at least 18 years old during the 2009 hijacking. Muse is currently sentenced [JURIST report] to over 30 years in federal prison.

A number of countries around the world have taken actions in the attempt to solve the problem of maritime piracy [JURIST news archive]. In 2014 security forces arrested [JURIST report] Somali pirate Mohamed Garfanji, then second-in-command of Somalia's pirate industry. In 2013 a judge for the US District Court Eastern District of Virginia [official website] sentenced [JURIST report] Somali pirates Abukar Osman Beyle and Shani Nurani Shiekh Abrar to 21 life sentences for their roles in the killing of four Americans aboard a yacht off the Horn of Africa in February 2011. Also that year three Somali pirates accused of hijacking [JURIST report] a private yacht off the coast of Somalia in 2009 faced trial in France. In February 2013 the Abu Dhabi Federal Appeal Court upheld the sentences [JURIST report] of 10 Somali pirates convicted of highjacking a UAE-owned bulk-carrier ship in April 2011. In October 2012 the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court of Hamburg issued sentences [JURIST report] for 10 Somalis who were involved in the hijacking the German freighter MS Taipan off the coast of Somalia two years ago.

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