Suspected pirates to be sent to U.S. to face charges

Mike Schuler
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April 13, 2010

Five Somali pirates accused of attacking the USS Nicholas could be sent to the United States to face trial, only the second time in recent history.  CNN tells us:

Although the United States worked with Kenya to create a system to try pirate suspects in that country, the Kenyan government told Washington that its court system is overburdened and cannot accept more cases.

The suspects are expected to be moved to the U.S. base in Djibouti and then flown to Norfolk, Virginia, according to the officials.

The Department of Justice has enough evidence on the five to prosecute them, according to military officials. The expectation is they will be tried in federal court.

They will be moved to Norfolk because the Nicholas is based in the southern Virginia port city, and Norfolk jurisdiction follows the ship wherever it goes, according to the officials.

A Justice Department spokesman declined comment.

The USS Nicholas captured the pirates on April 1, after the suspected pirates aboard a skiff opened fire on the frigate.  The USS Nicholas returned fire and eventually caught up to the skiff, capturing the 3 pirates on board before sinking it. Shortly afterwards, the USS Nicholas arrested two more suspected pirates aboard a nearby mothership.

The U.S. Navy is currently holding 21 pirate suspects on three ships off the coast of Africa, including the five who will be sent back to the United States.

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