He’s at the center of the first piracy trial the US has seen in more than a century, but Abdiwali Abdiqadir Muse’s mother says he’s a victim. “He was brainwashed,” she tells the AP. “People who are older than him duped him.” Muse, the lone surviving pirate from the hostage-taking of an American ship captain, is now in custody in New York, but his mother remembers a book-loving boy “wise beyond his age.”
Muse’s past remains something of a mystery. His mother hasn’t seen him since “he was in a school uniform,” she says. “He took all his books the day he disappeared…and did not come back.” His personal details are murky—his age, particularly, is a sticking point. His mother says he’s 16, while US authorities claim he’s at least 18. Since Muse wasn’t born in a hospital, no records exist to verify either age.