'Most senior pirate ever captured'

An American court has given 12 life sentences to a Somali pirate for his role in the hijacking of a yacht and the deaths of the four people who were on board.

Americans Jean and Scott Adam, owners of the yacht Quest, were murdered along with their friends Bob Riggle and Phyllis Macay by pirates near the Gulf of Aden last year, after negotiations between the pirates and a US Navy ship broke down.

11 men who boarded the yacht have already pleaded guilty and were sentenced to life in prison with the three men who are charged with shooting the sailors facing the death penalty.

But the judge also handed Mohammad Saaili Shibin a life in prison, despite his lawyer claiming that he never boarded Quest.

American authorities say that Mr Shibin is the highest-ranking pirate they have ever captured, as he negotiated ransom payments and he has direct ties to the people who fund pirate operations in Somalia.

US Attorney Neil MacBride said after sentencing: ‘This case showed that pirates are brutal, greedy, reckless, desperate criminals who will kidnap, torture and ultimately kill hostages in pursuit of their financial greed.’

James Broccoletti, Mr Shibin’s attorney, said he will appeal the conviction.

Pirates get life sentences.

Confusion reigns over yacht hostage deaths in Indian Ocean.

Kidnapped US sailors killed.