The appeal of two Somali pirates has been denied by the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals.
Shani Nurani Shiekh Abrar and Abukar Osman Beyle resorted to the court their piracy and murder convictions. In the legal proceeding they claimed that their alleged crimes were not committed in international waters.
The two pirates were members of a pirate group that killed four Americans on a sailboat in the Arabian Sea. In February 2011 the boat was sailing as a member in an international yacht competition from India to Oman.
The U.S. Navy intervened and boarded the ship, trying to secure the crew and the yacht, keeping the boat in international waters and away from Somali territorial waters.
In the rescue operation US Navy SEALs killed two pirates and other two died from the discharge of their own weapons. The rest fourteen from the pirate group were captured and transported by the U.S. Navy for a criminal prosecution.
Eleven from the captured pirates were pleaded guilty with a sentence to life imprisonment.
The two Somali pirates and one more defendant from the criminal group were convicted and sentenced to three concurrent life sentences other 18 consecutive life and thirty consecutive years in prison.
Abrar and Beyle`s lawyers appealed the court decision with the fact that Somalia had extended with 200 nautical miles its territorial waters from shore and the international law was not relevant, because the crime was committed about 40 nautical miles from the Somali coast.
According to the court, the international law imposes the limit on territorial waters to spread to 12 nautical miles. For purposes of piracy, waters outside the territorial waters limit represent the high seas.
The intention of court’s denial of the Somali duo’s appeal was to decrease maritime piracy.