Somali teenager denies piracy charges in US

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The Independent US

new york A Somali teenager accused of leading a pirate attack on an American cargo ship off Africa pleaded not guilty to piracy charges yesterday.

A sombre-looking Abdiwali Abdiqadir Muse entered the plea in a soft voice with his head down during a brief appearance in a Manhattan court. Afterwards, his lawyers said Mr Muse has been kept in solitary confinement since being captured and brought to the United States last month. They continued to deny the US government's claim that their client is 18.

"He's a boy who fishes and now he's ended up in solitary confinement," said one of the lawyers, Deirdre von Dornum. "It's truly terrifying."

Mr Muse's age has been in dispute since his arrest. His family have said he is as young as 15, but a judge concluded that he could be tried as an adult since there was evidence that he was 18.

Authorities say that Mr Muse was the only surviving pirate among a group that attacked the US-flagged Maersk Alabama on 8 April.

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