LONDON: Two men have been found guilty of cooperating with the pirates who abducted reporter Michael Scott Moore in Somalia, US prosecutors said on Tuesday.
Mohamed Tahlil Mohamed and Abdi Yusuf Hassan, a naturalized American citizen, were convicted on Feb. 24 by a New York federal court jury of hostage-taking, conspiracy, providing material support for acts of terrorism and other crimes that carry potential life sentences, the Associated Press reported.
The two convicts are expected to be sentenced in September.
German American journalist Moore was kidnapped on Jan. 21, 2012, in Galkayo, Somalia, 400 miles northeast of the capital of Mogadishu, and held hostage for about 30 months.
Moore was working as a freelancer for the German publication Spiegel Online and researching a book about piracy.
His kidnappers demanded a ransom of $20 million and released a video in which Moore was surrounded by masked men pointing a machine gun and rocket-propelled grenade at him.
Moore was freed in September 2014 after his family raised $1.6 million.
Hassan was a Somali government official at the time of Moore’s abduction, while Mohamed was an army officer, according to the AP.
The conviction of the two men involved in Moore’s kidnapping “sends a message of hope that justice is possible for journalists who have been attacked, kidnapped, or even killed while reporting in Somalia,” said Muthoki Mumo, the Sub-Saharan Africa representative of the Committee to Protect Journalists.
She added in a statement released Tuesday: “It is high time that Somali journalists can equally find justice at home,” calling on Somali authorities to “end the high rates of impunity for crimes against the press by ensuring accountability.”
For the past eight years, Somalia has topped CPJ’s Global Impunity Index, which spotlights countries with the worst records for prosecuting murderers of journalists.
In 2018, a Canadian court convicted Ali Omer Ader of participating in the 2008 abduction in Somalia of Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout, Australian photographer Nigel Brennan, and their fixer, Abdifatah Mohamed Elmi.