Somali pirates could face trial in U.S., experts say
U.S. officials are mulling whether to bring 15 captured Somali pirates to America to face justice in the deaths of four Americans whose yacht was hijacked in the Arabian Sea.
Fifteen Somalis -- as well as the bodies of the four Americans and four Somalis -- remained aboard the aircraft carrier Enterprise off the coast of Oman. Navy SEALs boarded the yacht Tuesday after pirates fired a rocket-propelled grenade at an American warship following it. They found four hostages -- Jean and Scott Adam of Marina del Rey and Phyllis Macay and Robert Riggle of Seattle -- already shot dead.
Under federal law, the maximum penalty for piracy is life imprisonment, but because the hijacking ended in hostage fatalities -- a rarity in Somali pirate attacks -- U.S. prosecutors might opt for murder charges instead, said Michael Passman, a Chicago attorney who has written about piracy law.
U.S. military officials said no decisions have been announced about where the suspects will be prosecuted but added that one option could be extraditing the men to the U.S.
-- Edmund Sanders