NEW YORK – The sole surviving Somali pirate from the hostage-taking of an American ship captain arrived in New York on Monday, smiling for a gaggle of cameras and reporters as federal agents led him into custody to face charges in the attack.
Abduhl Wali-i-Musi was handcuffed and had a chain wrapped around his waist. His left hand was heavily bandaged from the wound he suffered during the skirmish on the ship two weeks ago.
Wali-i-Musi is the first person to be tried in the United States on piracy charges in more than a century. He was flown from Africa to a New York airport and taken into custody ahead of a court hearing today.
A law enforcement official familiar with the case said that the teenager was being charged under two obscure federal laws that deal with piracy and hostage-taking. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the charges had not been announced.
The teenager’s arrival came on the same day that his mother appealed to President Barack Obama for his release. She says her son was coaxed into piracy by “gangsters with money.”
“I appeal to President Obama to pardon my teenager; I request him to release my son or at least allow me to see him and be with him during the trial,” Adar Abdirahman Hassan said in a telephone interview with the Associated Press from her home in Galkayo, Somalia.
The age and real name of the young pirate remained unclear. The mother said he is only 16 years old and is named Abdi Wali Abdulqadir Muse. The law enforcement official said he is at least 18, meaning prosecutors will not have to take extra legal steps to put him on trial in a U.S. court.