Final Arguments in Piracy Trial
Closing arguments have been presented in a trial in federal court in Norfolk that is the first of its kind since the Civil War. Five Somali men are accused of piracy for what prosecutors called “a vicious attack” on the USS Nicholas off the coast of Africa in early April.
The defense presented a different version of what happened, claiming the men were innocent fishermen kidnapped and beaten by pirates and forced to make the attack.
Papadimas: These gentlemen were actually, they realized that they had a chance to save themselves, so they were doing their actions under duress.
Eva Papadimas is a law student at the University of Richmond.
Papadimas: As President of the International Law Students Association at the University of Richmond, I help coordinate trips to the court so that other students may also observe it.
The case, she noted, is one of two piracy cases to come before the Eastern District Court. Earlier, Judge Jackson, in the case of the USS Ashland, said the incident was, in fact, “attempted piracy”. In spite of that, the judge in the USS Nicholas case ruled:
Papadimas: This attempted piracy amounted to piracy because of the law of nations.
If the Somalis are convicted, they face life in prison.
John Ogle, WCVE News