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Guilty plea in 2008 sea piracy case

Washington Post Editors

A Somali man pleaded guilty in a U.S. federal court Wednesday to a 2008 pirate attack against a Danish-owned freighter in the Gulf of Aden.

Jama Idle Ibrahim, born in 1972, entered a plea agreement before U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson of the District of Columbia anticipating a 25-year prison sentence on two counts of conspiracy to commit piracy and to use a firearm in the Nov. 7, 2008, takeover of the CEC Future, registered to the Bahamas.

Ibrahim admitted to joining a group of Somali pirates in attacking the merchant vessel using rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47s. The pirates took over the ship, owned by the Clipper Group and carrying U.S. goods belonging to McDermott International Inc. of Houston, and held the vessel, cargo and crew hostage for 71 days off the Somali coast before ransom of $1 million to $2 million was paid, according to court documents.

On Aug. 27, Ibrahim pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Norfolk to attacking a U.S. warship, the USS Ashland, with five other alleged Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden in April.

According to court documents, Ibrahim pleaded guity in both courts as part of a deal in which prosecutors may request reduced prison time for him if he cooperates fully with investigators.

Ibrahim is expected to serve his new sentence concurrently with the 30-year term he agreed to for the Ashland raid, in which the U.S. amphibious support vessel fired on and sunk the pirate skiff carrying Ibrahim.

The Navy returned the men to face piracy charges in Norfolk, the Ashland's home port. District prosecutors had tracked the Future's hijacking, bringing separate charges.

The Norfolk case marked the first piracy case brought there in 150 years.

No sentencing date for Ibrahim's latest plea was set.

This item has been updated since it was first published.

-- Spencer S. Hsu

By Washington Post Editors  |  September 8, 2010; 1:32 PM ET
Categories:  Around the World , From the Courthouse , Spencer S. Hsu  
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What a waste of time. All pirates should be shot on site, the vessel sunk.

Posted by: TB_One | September 8, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Ibrahim is smart. I have been to Somalia, and it is a hole. He will live a much more confortable life, in an American prison, at our expense, than he could ever live in Somalia.

The worst punishment we could give him is to send him home.

Posted by: wobbleman47 | September 8, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Adhering the rule of law is important even if other forms of "justice" are more efficient.

Posted by: krickey7 | September 8, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

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