War on Terrorism

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Two More Somalis Plead Guilty to Charges Relating to Piracy of Quest

Pirate Attack Resulted in Murder of Four U.S. Citizens

NORFOLK, VA—Jilani Abdiali, a/k/a Ilkasse, 20, and Burhan Abdirahman Yusuf, a/k/a Burhan, a/k/a Famah, 31, both of Somalia, pled guilty today in Norfolk federal court to acts of piracy against the S/V Quest, which resulted in the murder of United States citizens Scott Underwood Adam, Jean Savage Adam, Phyllis Patricia Macay, and Robert Campbell Riggle.

Neil H. MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office; Alex J. Turner, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office; and Mark Russ, Special Agent in Charge of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) in Norfolk, made the announcement after the pleas were accepted by United States District Judge Mark S. Davis.

“These Somali pirates admitted that they hijacked a U.S. ship planning to make a big ransom off the four American hostages. Tragically, their co-conspirators gunned down the hostages in cold blood and these pirates now face spending the rest of their lives in prison,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “We hope the string of convictions in this and other cases help send a message to others that piracy against American vessels will not be tolerated.”

“The pleas entered today are a step closer to justice on a journey that started on a fateful day in February,” said FBI ADIC Fedarcyk. “Abdiali and Yusuf fully conspired to board the sailing vessel Quest where they used violence for the goal of monetary gain; the FBI remains determined in our quest to bring these pirates to justice.”

Both pled guilty today to piracy under the law of nations, which carries a mandatory life sentence. They admitted that they willingly engaged in piracy for financial gain and participated in the pirating of the Quest and in the taking of the four Americans on board as hostages. The two defendants warranted in their plea agreements that they did not personally shoot any of the four Americans, nor did they instruct any other person to shoot the hostages.

Sentencing for Jilani Abdiali is scheduled for Sept. 6, 2011, and sentencing for Burhan Abdirahman Yusuf is scheduled for Aug. 22, 2011.

The investigation of the case is being conducted by the FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

The prosecution in the Eastern District of Virginia is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Benjamin L. Hatch, Joseph DePadilla, and Brian J. Samuels, from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and Trial Attorney Paul Casey from the Department of Justice’s National Security Division.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on https://pcl.uscourts.gov.

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