NORFOLK, Virginia (AP) – A group of Somali nationals accused of pirate attacks on two U.S. Navy ships off Africa are due in a Virginia courtroom to enter pleas to the charges.
Arraignments are scheduled Friday before a U.S. magistrate judge in Norfolk for nine of 11 defendants. One entered a not guilty plea on Wednesday. Another is expected to plead next week.
Attorneys representing the remaining defendants complained at Wednesday’s hearing that they needed more time to explain the government’s accusations with a Somali interpreter present. Some said they had spent only 30 minutes with their clients and were not confident they understood U.S. court procedures.
None of the defendants speak English. All face mandatory life terms, if convicted.