Wednesday, October 9, 2013

'Captain Phillips' Movie Opens/ Epilogue Somali Pirate Arraignment and Sentencing

On October 11th the movie Captain Phillps opens in theaters. The movie is opening to rave reviews.
The story is about the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama tanker and kidnapping of Captain Richard Phillips;
 it is disturbing, shocking and amazing.
Below are events that are the epilogue to the story portrayed in the movie.

On April 21, 2009 the Somali pirate Abduhl Wal-i-Musi of Captain Phillips fame, was brought to Manhattan Federal Court under heavy security. The day before when  he was perp walked, he was all smiles, one of the local papers headlined a photo of him, titled it "Jolly Roger".
Lone surviving pirate in Federal court on Tuesday

However the next day once inside the courtroom, Muse broke down and cried.

During the arraignment the judge had trouble determining the age of the defendant and tried to reach out to his family in Africa, because it was unclear if he was to be charged as an adult. Upon mentioning his family, the Somali broke down.
That scene lasted just a few minutes, made the front page of the New York Post.
Eventually it was determined that he was 18 years old and was considered an adult, and faced a possible life sentence.
Somali Pirate Arraignment story

Somali Pirate Muse Arraignment by Elizabeth Williams

Months later-after he plead guilty- Abduhl Wal-i-Musi was sentenced 
in front of Chief Judge Loretta Preska. 
Prior to the hearing the 3rd mate Colin Wright was outside the courtroom and was clearly still very upset about what had occurred during the hijacking, and spoke during the hearing of being so helpless, with no way to protect themselves. 
From Bloomberg story:
Wright.....testified during today’s hearing that the incident permanently changed him and asked the judge to sentence Muse to the maximum penalty possible.
“It was a very, very scary experience,” said Wright, who detailed being shot at during the hijacking and listening to bullets ring off the bulkhead next to him.

During the sentencing hearing the judge gave a detailed report on the horrors and torture that occurred while Captain Phillips was kidnapped and held hostage for 4 days. It was a graphic and shocking.  During her account of the events, she wept, which is unusual for a judge.
Judge Loretta Preska

Abduhl Wal-i-Musi sentencing February 16, 2011 by Elizabeth Williams

Somali Pirate sentencing story link 

Muse was finally  sentenced to 33 years in prison and Captain Richard Phillips wrote a book that eventually became a movie; he is considered by many to be a modern day hero.

Michael Daly NY Daily News
After Maersk heroism, maybe Merchant Marine Memorial will be more than footnote

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