Two Somalis get life in US prison for pirating ship

August 23, 2011 00:01

WASHINGTON - Two Somali men were sentenced on Monday to spend the rest of their lives in a US prison for their roles in the pirating of a yacht that ultimately resulted in the death of two American couples.

Ali Abdi Mohamed, 30, and Burhan Abdirahman Yusuf, 31, were sentenced to the life prison terms in federal court in Norfolk after they pleaded guilty earlier this year to piracy of the S/V Quest vessel off the Somali coast.

"Today's sentences send a message to all those who participate in piracy that armed attacks on the high seas carry lifelong consequences," US Attorney Neil MacBride said in a statement.

A group of Somali and Yemeni pirates seized the yacht on Feb. 18, and two went aboard the US guided-missile warship USS Sterett to negotiate a possible ransom. But shooting broke out on the private yacht and the four Americans were killed.

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