Somali pirates face hell in US prison system
Two Somali pirates are expected to be sentenced to life in US prison on Monday, joining nine others who have just begun long sentences for their roles in hijacking attempts. What’s in store for them as they enter the alien, unforgiving world of the American jail system?
Federal prison is a frightening, perilous environment of intrigue, violent gangs, terrible food and severe isolation, even for the most hardened criminal.
For men from a faraway land with little or no English-language skills and no prior familiarity with American culture, it will be especially hard, say lawyers for the men, and experts in psychology and the criminal justice system.
Some American vessels hijacked by the Somalis in US prisons
Maersk Alabama, April 2009: Abduwali Abdukhadir Muse and three comrades attack the US-flagged container ship and take Capt Richard Phillips hostage on a lifeboat. Muse is arrested by the US Navy; the three others are killed by Navy snipers.
S/V Quest, 18 February 2011: Nineteen pirates hijack the yacht, taking four American sailors hostage. The four Americans and four pirates are killed in the ensuing standoff, and 15 pirates are taken to the US for prosecution.
USS Nicholas, March-April, 2010: Five men have been convicted of attacking a Navy ship that prosecutors said the pirates mistook for a merchant ship