[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia [official website] on Tuesday sentenced Somali pirate Ahmed Muse Salad to life in prison without parole for his involvement in the deaths of four Americans off the coast of Africa. Salad was among the 19 men who boarded and hijacked a yacht, shooting and killing the yacht's owners, Jean and Scott Adam, and their friends Bob Riggle and Phyllis Macay. Prosecutors had pushed for the death penalty, but a jury in August recommended [JURIST report] that the three Somali pirates serve life in prison. Chief District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith sentenced Salad to 21 life sentences, 19 of which will be served consecutively.
A number of countries around the world have taken actions in the attempt to solve the problem of maritime piracy [JURIST news archive]. Last month three Somali pirates accused of hijacking [JURIST report] a private yacht off the coast of Somalia in 2009 went on trial in France. In February the Abu Dhabi Federal Appeal Court upheld the sentences [JURIST report] of 10 Somali pirates convicted of highjacking a UAE-owned bulk-carrier ship in April 2011. In October 2012 the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court of Hamburg [official website, in German] issued sentences [JURIST report] for 10 Somalis who were involved in the hijacking the German freighter MS Taipan off the coast of Somalia two years ago.