It was a story we followed with interest more than a year ago which culminated in the rescue of Capt. Richard Phillips by Navy SEALs. A lot has happened since then; Phillips has released his memoirs, for one. Yet another development happened to that story recently as the surviving pirate out of that pirate-hostage-drama pleaded guilty to the charges against him.
A report on The New York Times shared that Abduwali Abdukhadir Muse, in what is touted as the first piracy prosecution in the United States in decades, pleaded guilty to charges of hijacking the Maersk Alabama, conspiracy and hostage taking. Muse gave the following statement through an interpreter before United States District Court Judge Loretta A. Preska in Manhattan: “What we did was wrong. I am very, very sorry for the harm we did. The reason for this is the problems in Somalia.”
His guilty plea led to the dropping of four out of six counts against him, including “the crime of piracy as defined by the laws of nations” which carries with it a life sentence.
Still, he will probably spend most of his life in jail. Prosecutors will reportedly be seeking a sentence of at least 27 years but no more than 33 years and 9 months.
His plea agreement also included being judged as an adult, but that may still be an issue during his sentencing, which has been scheduled for October 19. His court-appointed lawyer, Phillip L. Weinstein, said that age may be used as a “mitigating factor” during sentencing; Muse’s father had testified that he was born on Nov. 20, 1993, which means that he was only 15 during the hijacking.