Highest-ranking convicted pirate loses appeal

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Associated Press

Posted on July 12, 2013 at 2:33 PM

Updated Friday, Jul 12 at 2:33 PM

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A federal appeals panel in Virginia has upheld the conviction of the highest-ranking pirate captured by the U.S. government.

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday affirmed the conviction of Mohammad Saaili Shibin for his role in two acts of piracy.

One, in 2010, involved the hijacking of a merchant vessel and the other, in 2011, included the shooting deaths of four Americans aboard a yacht.

Shibin was a multilingual negotiator based in Somalia during both incidents. His attorneys argued that he could not be convicted of piracy because he never set out on the high seas.

The three judges disagreed on that point and others cited by Shibin's attorneys in his appeal.

He has been sentenced to a dozen life sentences.

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