Prosecutors Say Somali Pirate Teen Is Brash, But Not So Bright

04.23.09 Will Sherman

Piracy SuspectA criminal complaint filed in court this week offers new details in the case against Abdiwali Abdukhadir Muse, the sole survivor among the teenage Somali pirates that hijacked the Maersk Alabama and held Captain Richard Philips hostage. The complaint alleges that Muse was the first pirate to board the ship, took a potshot at the Captain, and helped steal $30,000. Although the teenager bragged about hijacking other ships, he wasn’t the most savvy buccaneer: “Muse was tricked into leaving his weapon behind with fellow pirates when he went to hunt for other crew members. A crew member apparently told Muse the crew would be afraid to surrender if he was armed.” As Muse searched the ship in the dark, armed only with a flashlight, crew members tacked and tied him up until his fellow pirates could free him.

Meanwhile, prosecutors and defense attorneys continue debating whether Abdiwali Abdiqadir Muse is actually old enough to face his charges, including piracy under the law of nations. The law, not used much since the 1800s, carried a mandatory death sentence which was downgraded to a lifetime in prison penalty. |AP|

Drawing of Muse holding his hand, stabbed by a Harlem sailor, by Elizabeth Williams/AP Photo