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Pirate’s Youth May ‘Complicate’ Prosecution

From a hand-wringing Washington Post:

Pirate’s Youth May Complicate Prosecution Decision

By Carrie Johnson
Wednesday, April 15, 2009; Page A06

Authorities investigating the seizure of a U.S. ship continued to sift through fingerprint and DNA evidence yesterday as they deliberated whether to bring to this country a young Somali pirate who surrendered last weekend before three of his associates were killed by American snipers.

The youth, whose age is one of many inconsistencies facing investigators, could be charged with piracy or kidnapping offenses for his role in the capture of Vermont sea captain Richard Phillips off the Horn of Africa last week, according to two sources familiar with the deliberations.

International law allows for piracy suspects to be charged with a crime anywhere across the globe, maritime scholars said, but one likely scenario would send the boy to a federal court in New York City. More than a dozen FBI agents from that city’s field office traveled to Somalia last weekend to interview crew members on the Maersk Alabama and gather evidence from the vessel…

The sole surviving piracy suspect initially gave his age as 19 when he boarded a U.S. ship early Sunday, seeking medical attention for a stab wound on his hand incurred during the initial attack on the Maersk, according to accounts from government officials. But the youth later said he was 16, which would make him a juvenile in the eyes of the U.S. court system. Law enforcement officials would need to make a determination to try him as an adult, something that is not uncommon in other kinds of cases, including violent drug gangs, for example, lawyers said. Birth records in his home country, Somalia, are difficult to obtain, posing another challenge for federal investigators.

Authorities are deliberating whether to send the youth to Kenya for trial or into the American court system. The Kenyan government has agreed to accept piracy suspects and try them in courts there under the terms of an international agreement. But such trials involve costly security measures that could burden the East African nation.

If the youth were indicted by a U.S. grand jury and brought to this country, it would offer the first major test in years of American anti-piracy laws, which date to the 19th century, according to law professors who follow the issue. Immigration law could also come into play. If the suspect were convicted in an American court and served prison time here, it would be difficult to send him back to Somalia upon his release, posing a question for immigration officials at the Department of Homeland Security.

"Trying pirates in the U.S. for an attack on an American vessel makes more sense than any other scenario I can think of," said piracy law expert Samuel P. Menefee, who has written nearly four dozen articles on maritime issues. "If there are any problems with American law, certainly now is the time to find out so that we can bring our law on the subject into the 21st century."

A decision on where and how to prosecute could be days away, officials said.

"The Justice Department continues to review all evidence and other issues related to this matter and is committed to bringing a prosecution if the evidence so warrants," department spokesman Dean Boyd said yesterday.

This is the opening gambit in the well-worn liberal playbook. And precisely why we cannot treat terrorists as run of the mill domestic criminals.

There will always be some excuse (and more than likely some well-funded taxpayer supported group) to contend that the perpetrator is too young, too disadvantaged, too crazy, too religious…

The youth, whose age is one of many inconsistencies facing investigators…

“Inconsistencies”? What is inconsistent about it?

If the suspect were convicted in an American court and served prison time here, it would be difficult to send him back to Somalia upon his release, posing a question for immigration officials at the Department of Homeland Security.

Funny, we’ve never heard this minor detail mentioned when our media masters are talking about how the terrorists in Guantanamo must be tried in the US court system.

Why is that?

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, April 15th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

12 Responses to “Pirate’s Youth May ‘Complicate’ Prosecution”

  1. Liberals Demise says:

    When you “KILL” them you rob them of their youth.
    You take their youth away.
    Problem solved!!
    Whack these wayward lads!!

  2. Kilmeny says:

    Oh boy, here we go. Applying American civil law where it doesn’t belong. He was clearly old enough to sail, intercept ships, take hostages and aim a gun at the back of an innocent man. Old enough to make the decision that it was yo ho ho, a pirate’s life for him. Now’s he’s too young to face the consequences? What’s next, assigning him to an American foster home?

  3. GL0120 says:

    How dare Obama authorize the killing of poor children who were probably just trying to provide for their starving families!
    Where is the outrage, is the NY Times asleep at the switch? What of the Washington Post?
    Dan Rather should be working up one of his top notch pieces of investigative journalism.
    No wonder these people hate us, we’re killing their children!

  4. pdsand says:

    According to the ancient laws piracy means death, so this shouldn’t be an issue.

  5. pdsand says:

    “If there are any problems with American law, certainly now is the time to find out so that we can bring our law on the subject into the 21st century.”

    It would seem that our law on the subject is smack dab in the middle of the 21st century, that’s why you won’t find pirates coming near American ships, up until this latest Obama-encouraged incident.

  6. BannedbytheTaliban says:

    What’s the problem again?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oh3lv3ANlCA

  7. caligirl9 says:

    I knew he’d get a green card out of this …

  8. proreason says:

    How does defeating a 16-year old boy and killing three other teenagers factor into the Commando Obama myth?

    • Liberals Demise says:

      I’ll answer this one!!

      Obeyme can press the 16 yr. old into the “SS Commando Youth” for all the “Black Ops”. This clod has no back ground here so he is expendable should things get too dirty.

  9. Confucius says:

    You know what else will complicate the prosecution’s decision? When the rambunctious little tyke learns to spell M-I-R-A-N-D-A.

  10. AConcernedCitizen says:

    I fully admit that I was doubting that a team of snipers could take out all the pirates at once (to my defense, I was thinking that it was going to be shot of more than 100 meters and not just 30 meters) and I’m glad I was wrong. And what a ballsy move by the CO of the ship (or of the SEAL team) to make the call to shoot.

    Anyone else find it interesting that the reason the fourth pirate was on board the USS BAINBRIDGE was to seek medical attention? And not just to negotiate? The BAINBRIDGE should have solved the problem by making the last pirate walk the plank. You’ve got to figure there’s still a law on the books somewhere from the 18th century that no one bothered to repeal.

  11. BillK says:

    Six months in Juvie and he’s out!


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