By Jim Kouri
Somali pirate and hostage-taker Mohammad Saaili Shibin, a/k/a “Khalif Ahmed Shibin,” a/k/a “Shibin,” the man convicted of being the Somali kidnapper who also negotiated the ransom demands for the release of U.S. citizens onboard an American yacht, the S/V Quest, as well as the Marida Marguerite, a German-owned vessel, was sentenced late Monday afternoon in federal court in New York City.
During the trial, jurors were told that the pirates shot Scott and Jean Adams of California and Phyllis Mackay and Bob Riggle of Washington state in this midst of neogotiations. The Surface Vessel Quest had been sailing around the world when the Somalis hijacked it off the coast of Oman.
The convicted pirate was given 10 concurrent life sentences for piracy, two consecutive life sentences for the use of a rocket-propelled grenade and automatic weapons during crimes of violence, 10 years consecutive on six counts charging discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence, and two 20-year sentences for the remaining counts of discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence, according to the U.S. Navy criminal investigators.
The 50-year-old Shibin was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of approximately $5,408,000 by United States District Judge Robert G. Doumar who sentenced the Somali pirate in a Manhattan courtroom. Shibin was convicted of all counts by a federal jury on April 27, 2012.
According to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), as U.S. Navy SEALs attempted to negotiate the release of four American citizens being held hostage on board the S/V Quest, American rescuers were told by one of the pirates/hostage takers onboard the Quest that Shibin was the Somali man responsible for negotiating the return of the hostages upon their arrival in Somalia.
Evidence at trial revealed that during this period of negotiation, Shibin conducted research on the Internet to learn about the hostages on the Quest and to determine the amount money to demand from the U.S. Navy, along with the identity of family members of the hostages whom he could contact about the ransom.
But while the SEAL team continued its negotiations to secure the hostages’ release, the four hostages were intentionally shot and killed.
Court documents and witness testimony also proved that Shibin was the ransom negotiator for the conspirators who pirated the Marida Marguerite, a German-owned vessel with a crew of 22 men who were held hostage off the coast of Somalia from May to December 2010.
Shibin spoke with the owners of the Marida Marguerite and successfully extracted a ransom payment for the vessel and its crew. Shibin received approximately $30,000 to $50,000 in U.S. currency as his share of the ransom payment. Crew members of the M/V Marida Marguerite testified that they were brutally tortured while being held hostage, according to a U.S. law enforcement agent.