19 Life Sentences Ought to Do It

Somali pirates escape death penalty, head to federal prison for killing U.S. boaters.

Three Somali pirates have been sentenced to 19 life terms in federal prison apiece in the 2011 killing of four Americas aboard the 58-foot sailing yacht Quest off the coast of Africa, according to_ The Washington Post_.

Abukar Osman Beyle, Shani Nurani Shiekh Abrar and Ahmed Muse Salad had been facing the death penalty. They were among 19 pirates who boarded the Quest in an effort to take the Americans hostage and hold them for ransom.

“These defendants, in violation of U.S. and international law, commandeered an American-flagged sailing vessel, refused to release the hostages to the Navy, and brutally murdered the four Americans on board,” Acting U.S. Attorney Boente stated in a news release published by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “The multiple, consecutive life sentences imposed today send a clear message that piracy, hostage-taking, and murder on the high seas will not be tolerated.”

This case was investigated by the FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Benjamin L. Hatch, Joseph DePadilla, and Brian J. Samuels prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.