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5 Somalis convicted of piracy in 2010 attack on US ship; claimed they fired to get help


Wednesday, February 27, 2013
By Brock Vergakis

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NORFOLK, Va. - A U.S. jury has convicted five Somali men of piracy for the 2010 attack on the USS Ashland.

The verdict was issued Wednesday. A piracy conviction carries a mandatory life sentence.

Defence 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 ship's direction to get its attention so it could help them.

The Navy returned fire, setting the men's skiff on fire and killing one.

A federal judge had dismissed the piracy charges because the men never boarded or robbed the amphibious dock landing ship. But a federal appeals court reversed that decision, sending the case back to trial.



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