Somali 'Pirates' Appear In U.S. Court

"Eleven suspected Somali pirates accused in separate attacks on two Navy ships off the coast of Africa were indicted in U.S. federal court Friday. There was heavy security at the courthouse when the men appeared wearing handcuffs and either bright orange or olive drab prison outfits. One used crutches and had a bandage wrapped around his head. Another used a wheelchair, with his leg covered in bandages because it had been amputated below the knee. The government said the injuries were the result of the men's alleged battle with the Navy. The defendants did not enter pleas. An interpreter read them the charges of piracy, attacks to plunder a vessel, assault with a dangerous weapon, and use of a firearm during a crime of violence. Piracy carries a mandatory life sentence; the other charges carry penalties of 10 to 35 years. The men, appearing weary and impassive, sat in the jury box during the 90-minute hearing.