New York: A Somali man pleaded guilty in New
York to seizing a US ship in the Indian Ocean last year, but
escaped life behind bars after prosecutors dropped a formal
Abduwali Abdukhadir Muse was captured by the US Navy amid
a bloody operation on the high seas last year to free a US
mother assailants were holding hostage.
Muse pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in
Manhattan to seizing a ship by force and kidnapping, but
prosecutors said they would no longer pursue him for piracy
and other more serious charges.
He faces between 27 years and 33 years and nine months in
prison, according to sentencing guidelines, his lawyer Phillip
Weinstein called the sentence was "reasonable."
Muse, who smiled during his court appearance, was accused
of being a ring leader during a raid on the Maersk Alabama, a
US ship. The assailants tried to flee in a lifeboat with the
ship`s captain, Richard Phillips, but were left stranded
without a motor.
A US naval ship, the USS Bainbridge, arrived at the scene
and sharpshooters killed three of the pirates on the lifeboat,
saving Phillips. Muse was arrested after boarding the
Bainbridge in an apparent attempt to negotiate.
Prosecutors dropped charges of piracy and possession of a
machine gun. Piracy carries a mandatory life sentence.