Two men have been found guilty of collaborating with Somali pirates who kidnapped an American journalist for ransom and held him for two and a half years, prosecutors said.
Mohamed Talil Mohammed and Abdi Yusuf Hassan were found guilty of hostage taking, conspiracy, material assistance in an act of terrorism, and other crimes punishable by life imprisonment on February 24 by a New York federal court jury. was convicted of
German-born American journalist Michael Scott Moore was kidnapped in Galkayo, Somalia, 650 kilometers northeast of the capital, Mogadishu, in January 2012. He was working as a freelancer for the German publisher Der Spiegel Online and was researching a book on piracy.
The kidnappers demanded a $20 million ransom and at one point released a video of Moore pointing his machine gun and rockets at him surrounded by masked kidnappers.
Moore was released in September 2014. Moore says his family raised $1.6 million for his release.
“Tahlil, an officer in the Somali Army, left his post to take command of the pirates holding Moore in captivity and obtained the machine gun and grenade launcher used to intimidate and restrain Moore,” the US attorney said.
Damian Williams said in a statement. “Hassan, Minister of Home Affairs and Security for the Somali state where Moore was kidnapped, misused his position in the government and directed a pirate operation to extort a large ransom from Moore’s mother.”
Born in Mogadishu, Hassan is a naturalized US citizen. He was arrested in Minneapolis in 2019 and charged with federal crimes.
Details of Tahir’s arrest have not been made public, but he was imprisoned in New York in 2018.
In his 2018 incarcerated book, Moore says Tahrir contacted him on Facebook from Somalia two months after the journalist’s release, including a photo. Moore recognized him as the “boss” of the guards.
The two began to correspond.
“I hope you’re doing well,” Tahir said, according to the book. “The pirates who held you hostage were killing each other over group grudges and money issues.”
It coincided with reports that some pirates were killed in a dispute over the distribution of Moore’s ransom, according to a criminal complaint reported by The New York Times.
Hassan and Tahlil were scheduled to be sentenced on September 6.
The Associated Press emailed the two attorneys late Monday afternoon, but the messages were not immediately returned.
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