US indicts 11 pirates for attacks on its naval ships
Washington: The US Friday indicted 11 suspected pirates for attacking American naval ships in the Indian Ocean, Xinhua reported.
The indictments were unsealed an hour after the suspects were led into a federal courthouse in Norfolk by US marshals.
Five of the suspects were charged with a March 31 attack on the USS Nicholas, a frigate that had been patrolling off the Somali coast. The pirates allegedly attacked the ship during the night with assault rifles and other weapons, believing it was a merchant vessel.
The other six suspects were charged in the April 10 attack on the USS Ashland, an amphibious landing ship. The six were accused of using assault rifles to fire on the landing ship.
After being held on warships for weeks off Somalia`s pirate-infested coast and nearby regions, the suspects were flown to the US to stand trial. US Justice officials were secretive about the indictment until the last moment.
One of the suspects, who were wearing jail-issued jumpsuits, had a bandaged head. Another was carried into the court building.
Discussions have been ongoing about setting up a special international court to try suspected pirates. Some pirates have been freed after they were captured because no country was willing to put them on trial.
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