A jury in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia [official website] on Monday convicted three Somali men of hijacking a boat and killing four Americans in 2011 off the coast of Somalia. The defendants, Ahmed Muse Salad, Abukar Osman Beyle and Shani Nurani Shiekh Abrar, were found guilty [AP report] on all 26 counts against them, 22 of which carry a potential punishment of death. The charges arise from a 2011 incident in which an American yacht was hijacked by a group of Somalis and the owners were shot and killed. All three of these men had pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to the charges against them in July 2011 and requested a jury trial. Eleven other Somali men involved in the incident have already pleaded guilty to the charges against them.
Two of the Somali pirates were sentenced to life in prison in October 2011, and six others pleaded guilty [JURIST reports] in May 2011. The first of the eleven was sentenced to life in prison [JURIST report] in August 2011, after agreeing to help in the cases against the other suspects.