A federal judge on Monday sentenced a Somali pirate to 12 life sentences for his role in the hijacking of a German boat and the Adams’ yacht that eventually led to the couple’s murder.
Mohammad Saaili Shibin, 50, was found guilty on April 27 on all 15 counts he faced for pirating the Quest, the Adam’s yacht, off the coast of Africa in February 2011. He was the chief ransom negotiator between 10 other Somali pirates aboard and the U.S. Navy for the lives of Jean and Scott Adam of Marina del Rey, and their friends Bob Riggle and Phyllis Macay of Seattle.
Before Navy SEALs could climb on board, the pirates executed the four U.S. citizens. Shibin was the person responsible for negotiating the return of the hostages upon their arrival in Somalia, according to court documents. During negotiations, Sibin conducted online research on the Quest’s hostages and their family members in the U.S. to determine the ransom amount to demand, according to evidence presented at trial.
“Mohammed Shibin was a key participant in two of the most heinous acts of piracy in modern memory...the Somalia piracy criminal enterprise could not function without skilled negotiators like Shibin,” U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride said in a statement after sentencing. “His multiple life sentences should put all pirates on notice that the Justice Department will hold you accountable in an U.S. courtroom for crimes on the high seas.”
He was also the chief pirate negotiator for the Marida Marguerite, the German-owned vessel with a crew of 22 men held hostage off the Somalian coast from May to December 2010. For his work in successfully extracting ransom, he received about $30,000 to $50,000.
Of the 12 life sentences imposed, 10 will run concurrently for piracy and two will run consecutively for the use of rocket-propelled grenades during crimes of violence. Shibin is also required to pay restitution in the amount of approximately $5.4 million.