Attorneys want Somalis' piracy convictions tossed

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Attorneys for five Somali men convicted of attacking a U.S. Navy ship off Africa are asking a judge to reconsider the piracy conviction.

The attorneys in December asked a federal judge to look at defense claims that the men who attacked the USS Nicholas on April 1 did not commit piracy because they did not board or rob the frigate.

An attorney cited a report by the Congressional Research Service suggesting the 1819 definition of piracy may limit the ability of the government to charge individuals as pirates as merchant vessels come under increasing attack globally.

The Nov. 24 piracy conviction was the first successful prosecution of piracy in a U.S. court in nearly 200 years.  The government said that in response that international law defines the men's actions as piracy.

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