Somali pirates get life sentence in US for four American deaths


Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean are becoming more aggressive and more deadly. A Somali pirate carries his high-caliber weapon on a beach in the central Somali town of Hobyo on August 20, 2010.


Roberto Schmidt

A US court sentenced two Somali pirates to life in prison without parole for their roles in the deaths of four Americans onboard a yacht off the Horn of Africa.

Abukar Osman Beyle and Shani Nurani Shiekh Abrar were convicted of murder, kidnapping, hostage taking and piracy, and will now serve 21 life sentences, 19 of them consecutively.

A third man received a similar sentence on Tuesday.

Prosecutors said that in February, 2011, 19 Somalis boarded the Americans' yacht, Quest, and took them with the intention of bringing them to Somalia so they could demand millions of dollars in ransom.

More from GlobalPost: Britney Spears songs played to scare off Somali pirates

Fourteen of the 19 have now been sentenced.

The hostages were the yacht's owners, Jean Adam, 66, and her husband Scott Adam, 70 — former producer of classic TV shows like The Love Boat — and their friends Phyllis Patricia Macay, 59, and Robert Riggle, 67, who had been sailing around the world distributing bibles.

Prosecutors also said one of the pirates fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a US Navy vessel as hostage negotiations got underway. Shortly thereafter, the three men sentenced this week opened fire on the four Americans.

All four died after negotiations with the US Navy failed.