The sole surviving suspected pirate in the attempted hijacking of the Maersk Alabama and resulting hostage-taking of the ships captain appeared before a federal judge this afternoon in NYC. However U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Peck ordered the hearing closed to the public while the suspects age is determined, an issue that will determine whether his case will be open to the public or not. According to the Associated Press:
U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew J. Peck, over the objection of reporters crowded into a small courtroom, ordered the hearing closed to the public. The hearing will decide whether Abdiwali Abdiqadir Muse, whose age has been reported to be 15 or 18, is a juvenile or an adult.
Before court officers closed the courtroom to the media, Muse was asked if he understood that two federal defenders were being assigned to his case because he reported having no financial resources. Muse said through an interpreter: “I understand. I don’t have any money.”
Muse arrived in New York late Monday to face what are believed to be the first piracy charges in the United States in more than a century.
Video of Abdiwali Abdiqadir Muse arriving in NY
After some confusion over the age of Abdiwali Abdiqadir Muse, he was finally charged with piracy as an adult Tuesday after a prosecutor said he finally admitted he was 18.
The top count against Muse accuses him of piracy under the law of nations, a charge not used regularly since the 1800s. It carries a mandatory life sentence.
The other charges against him — discharging a firearm, conspiring to commit hostage taking and brandishing a firearm — could be found in drug, kidnapping and conspiracy cases throughout federal courthouses in the United States. They also offer potential penalties up to life in prison. (source)