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November 29, 2010

Pirate gets 30 year sentence

In the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Judge Raymond A. Jackson today sentenced Jama Idle Ibrahim, a/k/a Jaamac Ciidle, of Somalia ,to 30 years in prison for acts of piracy against the USS Ashland, which he believed was a merchant vessel that he intended to seize and hold for ransom.

Ibrahim pleaded guilty on August 6, 2010, to attacking to plunder a vessel, engaging in an act of violence against persons on a vessel, and to using a firearm during a crime of violence in regard to an attack against the USS Ashland on April 10, 2010.

According to court documents, in and around April 10, 2010, Ibrahim and five other Somalis sailed on the high seas in the Gulf of Aden searching for a merchant ship to attack and seize, intending to plunder the vessel and hold the crew and contents for ransom. The six men sighted a ship they believed to be a merchant vessel—but which was in fact the USS Ashland, a United States Navy vessel—chased it, and, once they were alongside the vessel, began firing at the USS Ashland and the people on board. In the statement of facts, Ibrahim admitted that all six men were willing participants in the planned piracy and that the purpose of firing at the vessel was to cause the vessel to surrender to them, at which point they would board the vessel, seize the ship, its crew, and its contents.

Neil H. MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI's New York Field Office; Alex J. Turner, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Norfolk Field Office; and Mark Russ, Special Agent in Charge of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service in Norfolk, made the announcement after Ibrahim was sentenced by United States District Judge Raymond A. Jackson.

"Today marks the first sentencing in Norfolk for acts of piracy in more than 150 years," said Neil H. MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; . "Ibrahim admitted his role in an armed attack on a U.S. Navy ship in the Gulf of Aden, after mistaking it for a merchant vessel. Piracy is a growing threat throughout the world, and today's sentence, along with last week's convictions, demonstrates that the United States will hold modern-day pirates accountable in U.S. courtrooms."

Today's sentencing follows last Wednesday's conviction, in the same court, of five Somalis who attacked another Navy ship, the USS Nicholas, in the belief that it was a merchant vessel. That attack took place on All Fools' Day (April 1) this year.


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