NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — The federal trial of a Somali man accused of being a pirate negotiator will begin in Virginia.
Mohammad Saaili Shibin faces piracy, weapons and other charges for his role in the 2011 hijacking of an American yacht off the coast of Africa. All four passengers were shot and killed days later.
Prosecutors say Shibin never boarded the yacht, but acted as a land-based negotiator who researched victims online to determine how much of a ransom to seek.
Shibin's attorney contends Shibin can't be found guilty of piracy because he never boarded the yacht.
The yacht owners, Jean and Scott Adam of Marina del Rey, Calif., along with friends Bob Riggle and Phyllis Macay of Seattle, were the first U.S. citizens killed in pirate attacks that have plagued the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean.