Somali pirate kingpin gets 20 years in jail

A Belgian court has sentenced a former Somali pirate kingpin to 20 years in prison over the 2009 hijacking of a Belgian ship off the coast of Somali.

Mohamed Abdi Hassan, also known as Afwayne, announced his retirement from piracy in January 2013 to advocate against piracy, but his past dealings caught up to him later that year when he was lured into Belgium and arrested by authorities upon his arrival.

Hassan was convicted of crimes related to the hijacking of the Belgian ship Pompeii in 2009 and sentenced Monday to 20 years by the Bruges Criminal Court in northwest Belgium. The ship’s 10 crew members were held by Somali pirates for more than two months before a ransom of more than $2 million was paid for their release.

During the height of Somali piracy in 2011, Hassan was so infamous that the United Nations even called him “one of the most notorious and influential leaders” in the Somali pirate business.

Hassan is expected to appeal the sentence, according to media reports. Another suspect captured along with Hassan in 2013 was also sentenced to 5 years in prison.

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