Judge Dismisses Piracy Charges Against 6 Somalis

On Wednesday, US District Judge Raymond A. Jackson dismissed piracy charges against 6 Somali men accused of attacking a Navy ship in the Gulf of Aden. The judge said that the US government failed to provide evidence that the attack was an act of piracy, as defined by the la of the nations.

The piracy charge, which if convicted carried a mandatory life sentence, was the most severe charge the men were facing; they will still be tried for seven other charges related to the April 10 attack on the USS Ashland.

The defendants did not meet the legal definition of piracy because they did not take command of and rob the Navy ship.

The six are accused of attacking the Ashland in a skiff, though they claim they were ferrying refugees. The skiff they were in was destroyed by one of the ship’s 25mm cannons. One occupant of the skiff was killed.

Photo Courtesy AP/U.S. Navy