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Page last updated at 05:04 GMT, Tuesday, 21 April 2009 06:04 UK

'Teenage pirate' arrives in US

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Abde Wale Abdul Kadhir Muse arrives in the US smiling

A Somali teenager accused of being one of the pirates who held an American sea captain hostage has been flown from Africa to the US to face trial.

Abde Wale Abdul Kadhir Muse is the first person to be tried in the US on piracy charges in more than a century, the Associated Press news agency says.

He was held over the seizure off Somalia of Richard Phillips, captain of the Maersk Alabama cargo ship.

Earlier, his mother appealed to US President Barack Obama to free him.

Adar Abdurahman Hassan told the BBC her son was innocent and just 16 years old.

While her son was allegedly negotiating on a US warship, naval snipers shot dead three pirates holding the captain.

Mrs Hasan said she wanted to be present in court if the case goes ahead.

She said her son had been missing for two weeks prior to the hijacking and she only realised he had been implicated when she heard his name in a radio report.

Under age

The teenager is accused of being a member of the pirate gang which boarded the container ship on 8 April and took Capt Phillips hostage in a lifeboat.

The standoff ended on the fifth day while her son was aboard a US warship allegedly demanding a ransom when US Navy marksmen killed three of the pirates.

Capt Richard Phillips (centre) hugs his children back in America on 17 April 2009

Mrs Hassan told the BBC's Somali service: "I am requesting the American government, I am requesting President Obama to release my child. He has got nothing to do with the pirates' crime.

"He is a minor. He is under age and he has been used for this crime. I also request from the US, if they choose to put him on trial, I want them to invite me there."

On Sunday, the weak, internationally recognised Somali government said captured pirates could face the death penalty.

But the Horn of Africa nation has been without an effective administration since 1991, fuelling the lawlessness which has allowed piracy to thrive.

Shipping companies last year handed over about $80m (£54m) in ransom payments to the gangs.



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