US indicts eleven alleged pirates from Somalia

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Eleven suspected Somali pirates have been indicted in the US in connection with recent attacks on two US navy ships off the coast of Africa.

The men were brought to a courthouse in Virginia on Friday, to face piracy charges after being detained on US ships as the cases against them were being prepared.

A first group of five suspected pirates was indicted in connection with what authorities say was a firefight on March 31st between the USS Nicholas and their vessel in the Indian Ocean.

The six other defendants were charged with an alleged April 10th attack on the USS Ashland in the Gulf of Aden near Djibouti. If convicted, they will face life in prison.

Until recently, pirates detained in international operations off the African coast were generally tried in Kenya. Kenyan authorities, however, recently indicated they needed more international financial help for this; Voice of America reports that Kenyan courts are becoming overloaded with piracy cases.