NORFOLK, Va. – A U.S. jury has convicted five Somali men of piracy for the 2010 attack on the USS Ashland.
The verdict was issued Wednesday. A piracy conviction carries a mandatory life sentence.
Defence attorneys had argued the men were returning to Somalia after ferrying refugees to Yemen when they came across the ship. They said an AK-47 was fired in the ship’s direction to get its attention so it could help them.
The Navy returned fire, setting the men’s skiff on fire and killing one.
A federal judge had dismissed the piracy charges because the men never boarded or robbed the amphibious dock landing ship. But a federal appeals court reversed that decision, sending the case back to trial.