Mounir Ali, a/k/a “Muner Ali,” 23, of Yemen, pled guilty in federal court Thursday to acts of piracy against the S/V Quest, which resulted in the murder in February of four American citizens.
Scott and Jean Adam, Phyllis Macay and Robert Riggle were killed after the Adam's yacht was hijacked in the Gulf of Aden. A U.S. negotiating team had tried to secure the release of the captives after several Navy ships tracked the pirates, but while negotiations were “ongoing” the pirates opened fire.
“Eleven Somali pirates have now pled guilty to the armed hijacking of a U.S. vessel in February off the East Africa coast,” said Neil H. MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Mounir Ali admitted today that his greed for ransom money ultimately led to the cold-blooded murder of the four U.S. hostages. This latest guilty plea again shows that modern piracy is far different than the romantic portrayal in summer-time movies. Pirates who attack on U.S. citizens on the high seas will face justice in a U.S. courtroom.”
“Today’s plea brings us one step closer to the resolution of the Quest’s hijacking and the brutal killing of four Americans. Armed with RPGs and automatic weapons, Ali willingly participated in this premeditated attack to pirate the Quest, in a vain attempt for ransom," said Janice K. Fedarcyk Assistant Director in Charge for the FBI’s New York Field Office.
Ali admitted that he and four other men from Yemen were crew members of a boat that was pirated by Somalis. When the Somali conspirators were in the process of capturing the American yacht, Ali willingly elected to join them in return for a share of the ransom money.
President Ali Abdullah Saleh has appeared on Yemen state television for the first time since he was badly hurt in a bomb attack on the Presidential palace June 3rd.
Speaking from Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, where he has been receiving medical treatment for burns and shrapnel wounds, Saleh said he had undergone "more than eight successful surgeries, treating burns resulted from the accident."
Saleh had burns to his face and bandaged arms and hands in the recorded interview.
He said he appreciated the way the people of Yemen had faced the challenge posed by the elements of the terrorism.
Criticizing some opposition forces in Yemen, President Saleh said: "Many people misunderstood democracy by conducting wrongful acts, like cutting the roads, cutting oil and gas pipelines and disturbing the security situation, and they are demanding the right of participation in power."
President Saleh said that he welcomed power sharing as long as it was within the country's constitutional framework and within the framework of the law. All political forces had to act responsibly, he said.
He gave no indication of when or if he would return to Yemen. Western diplomats in the region have said that Saleh is "politically dead" and unlikely to return anytime soon, if at all.
In his new non-fiction memoir, "The Interrogator: An Education," Glenn Carle describes the inside story of a high-level interrogation of a suspected al Qaeda terrorist and his discovery that almost every CIA assessment and action about the case–and the War on Terror – was wrong.
Compiled by Tim Lister
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