NORFOLK, Va. — A Somali man U.S. authorities consider the highest-ranking pirate they have ever captured will go on trial in Virginia under a cloud of uncertainty over the definition of piracy.
Mohammad Saaili Shibin is charged with piracy for his role in the hijacking of an American yacht in which all four passengers on board were shot and killed. Jury selection begins Tuesday.
Shibin's case is unique because he never set foot on the Quest. Prosecutors say he acted as a land-based hostage negotiator.
The judge has been waiting for a federal appeals court to rule on the definition of piracy in another case. At issue is whether piracy is limited to robbery at sea. It's unclear if a ruling will happen before Shibin's trial ends.