The Somali pirates found guilty of attacking a Virginia-based warship off the coast of Africa last year are looking to appeal, claiming that since their high-seas robbery failed, their piracy conviction cannot stand.
Attorneys for the group of five men are expected to argue this technicality in Richmond Tuesday, reported the Associated Press.
”They fired on a Navy ship. That's the whole case,” David Bouchard, an attorney for the Somali men, said prior to the trial. They didn’t go on the boat. They didn’t shoot anybody. They didn’t rob it.”
On April 1, 2010, the men shot at what they mistakenly thought was a merchant ship, but was actually the USS Nicholas. Unsuccessful, they tried to flee but were eventually captured and tried in the United States.
Mohammed Modin Hasan, Gabul Abdullahi Ali, Abdi Wali Dire, Abdi Mohammed Gurewardher and Abdi Mohammed Umar were convicted in November of piracy, attack to plunder a vessel, act of violence against persons on a vessel, assault with a dangerous weapon, assault with a dangerous weapon on federal officers and employees, conspiracy to use firearms during a crime of violence, and multiple firearm counts, including the use of a rocket propelled grenade.
Judge Mark S. Davis of the U.S. District Court in Norfolk sentenced the five men in to life in prison.