Two Somali pirates have been sentenced to life in prison, while a third received 33 years because he cooperated with prosecutors in another piracy case.
The Virginian-Pilot reports U.S. District Judge Raymond Jackson issued the life sentences Monday after a federal appeals court in Virginia ruled last year that he erred when he sentenced the five men convicted in the case to terms ranging from 30 to 42½ years.
In 2010, pirates attacked a U.S. Navy ship that they mistook for a cargo vessel in the Gulf of Aden. Sailors fired back, killing one pirate. The rest were captured.
Nobody aboard the Navy ship was hurt. Jackson ruled that under those circumstances, the mandatory life prison term established by federal law for piracy was unconstitutional.
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The appeals court disagreed, saying Congress had ample reason to conclude that piracy warrants a life sentence.