Feds Plan to Prosecute Captive Pirate in N.Y.

Suspect was aboard U.S. warship when snipers killed alleged accomplices.

April 16, 2009, 9:58 PM

NEW YORK, April 16, 2009 — -- The Somali pirate captured during the rescue of a U.S. cargo ship captain held hostage in the Indian Ocean is expected to stand trial in federal court in New York, according to senior administration officials familiar with the investigation.

That pirate went aboard a U.S. Navy vessel before Navy SEAL snipers shot and killed his three alleged cohorts who had been holding Capt. Richard Phillips of the Maersk Alabama hostage for approximately five days in a covered lifeboat.

According to U.S. officials, the plan to bring the alleged pirate -- identified by the Associated Press as Abduhl Wal-i-Musi -- to trial in Manhattan was in the works simultaneously with the resolution of the crisis Sunday.

During the hostage standoff, FBI agents from New York were assigned to investigate the pirate attack on the Maersk Alabama and the abduction of its captain, and will now continue to develop a case for trial.

According to senior officials, the suspect is expected to arrive in New York early next week -- perhaps Monday or Tuesday, where he will be charged and prosecuted.

The crew of the Maersk Alabama, minus its captain, has returned to the United States, arriving at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland early this morning.

Phillips, 53, is expected to return home to Vermont early Friday.

Battle Against Pirates Continues

Despite the U.S. assault on the pirates holding Phillips, pirate attacks in the region have continued. Earlier this week, another U.S. ship carrying food aid foiled an attack.

In fact, as Americans celebrated Phillips' rescue and his crew's return home, pirates along Somalia's coast simmered with anger and vowed revenge.

America's top military commander told ABC News the United States is reviewing its options in the battle against the pirates, including whether to go into pirate villages.

The Maersk Alabama drama settled into a standoff after the pirates boarded the container ship Maersk Alabama April 8, 2009, while firing AK-47 assault rifles, but were forced off the ship a short time later by the unarmed American crew, which captured one of the pirates.

Phillips was taken hostage as he showed the pirates how to run a lifeboat they were given to leave the ship.

The Maersk Alabama was in Somali waters because it was carrying food aid to hungry people in Africa, including Somalia.

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