Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What Flag of Truce?

The pirate who avoided the SEAL marksman arrived in NY today. Unlike in the days of yore as pictured above in Howard Pyle's sketch Pirates Wait to Learn the Price of Their Crimes, today they learn the names of the law firms willing to defend them.

One of my friends sent us this story:

NEW YORK -- The sole surviving Somali pirate from the hostage-taking of an American ship captain arrived in New York, smiling for a gaggle of cameras and reporters as federal agents led him into custody to face charges in the attack at a court hearing Tuesday.

Federal agents escorted Abduhl Wali-i-Musi into Federal Plaza to face charges.

Abduhl Wali-i-Musi was handcuffed and had a chain wrapped around his waist. His left hand was heavily bandaged from the wound he suffered during the skirmish on the ship two weeks ago.

The smiling teenager seemed poised as he entered a federal building in a rainstorm late Monday, but he did not say anything in response to reporters' shouted questions about whether he had any comment about the pirate episode.

Mr. Wali-i-Musi is the first person to face trial in the U.S. on piracy charges in more than a century. He was flown from Africa to a New York airport and taken into custody ahead of Tuesday's court hearing.

A law enforcement official familiar with the case said that the teenager was being charged under two obscure federal laws that deal with piracy and hostage-taking. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the charges had not been announced.

The teenager's arrival came on the same day that his mother appealed to President Barack Obama for his release. She said her son was coaxed into piracy by "gangsters with money."
"I appeal to President Obama to pardon my teenager; I request him to release my son or at least allow me to see him and be with him during the trial," Adar Abdirahman Hassan said in a telephone interview from her home in the Somali town of Galka'yoia.

The age and real name of the young pirate remained unclear. The mother said he is only 16 years old and is named Abdi Wali Abdulqadir Muse. The law enforcement official says he is at least 18, meaning prosecutors will not have to take extra legal steps to put him on trial in a U.S. court.

His worried family asked the Minneapolis-based Somali Justice Advocacy Center to help get him a lawyer, said the organization's executive director, Omar Jamal.

"What we have is a confused teenager, overnight thrown into the highest level of the criminal justice system in the United States out of a country where there's no law at all," Mr. Jamal said. Mr. Wali-i-Musi speaks no English and may never have attended school, he said.

The suspect was taken aboard a U.S. Navy ship shortly before Navy SEAL snipers on the guided-missile destroyer USS Bainbridge killed three of his colleagues who had held Capt. Richard Phillips hostage.

The U.S. officials said the teenager was brought to New York to face trial in part because the FBI office here has a history of handling cases in Africa involving major crimes against Americans, such as the al Qaeda bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998.
Ron Kuby, a New York-based civil rights lawyer, said he has been in discussions about forming a legal team to represent the Somali.

"I think in this particular case, there's a grave question as to whether America was in violation of principles of truce in warfare on the high seas," said Mr. Kuby. "This man seemed to come onto the Bainbridge under a flag of truce to negotiate. He was then captured. There is a question whether he is lawfully in American custody and serious questions as to whether he can be prosecuted because of his age."

Copyright © 2009 Associated Press

After an exchange of YGTBSM (You Got To Be Crapping Me) e-mails about the liberal press turning one of the pirates who held Captain Phillips into the victim, my friend then sent us this headline from CNN's website:

Alleged Maersk pirate arrives in New York


There's nothing "alleged" about the scurvy dogs boarding the Maersk Alabama and holding Captain Phillips hostage.

Meanwhile across the Atlantic, several German lawyers are planning to fly to Kenya in order to defend some pirates held in Kenyan jails...

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