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Somali pirate gets 25-year sentence: Will it be a deterrent?

A federal judge sentenced a Somali man to 25 years in US prison for his role in the hijacking of a Danish merchant ship in late 2008. The Somali pirate is already serving time for an attempted attack on the USS Ashland last April.

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A federal judge in Washington, D.C., on Thursday sentenced a Somali man to 25 years in prison for his admitted role as a pirate who helped hijack and hold a Danish merchant ship and its crew hostage for 71 days until a $1.7 million ransom was paid.

Jama Idle Ibrahim is already serving a 30-year prison term in the US after pleading guilty to being part of a group of six would-be pirates who mistakenly tried to hijack an American warship, the USS Ashland, in April 2010.

US District Judge Paul Friedman complied with a request of federal prosecutors to allow Mr. Ibrahim to serve the 25-year term concurrently with his existing 30-year term.

Under a plea agreement stemming from the USS Ashland case, Ibrahim agreed to plead guilty to participating in both the warship attack in April 2010 and the merchant ship hijacking in November 2008. In exchange, prosecutors suggested he would face no more than 30 years in prison.

His cooperation with prosecutors could be important in helping build cases against other accused pirates, including those captured with Ibrahim during the USS Ashland attack.

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