Published: Nov 24, 2010 6:20 PM EST
Updated: Nov 24, 2010 3:20 PM EST

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - A jury in Virginia has convicted five Somali men of piracy for their attack on a U.S. Navy ship off the coast of Africa.

Jurors returned the guilty verdict Wednesday in Norfolk after deliberating 10 hours over two days. The verdict is the first piracy conviction in a U.S. courtroom in nearly 200 years.

The conviction carries a mandatory life term.

The defendants were charged with attacking the USS Nicholas on April 1 as it patrolled off the coast of Somalia.

The men claimed they were fishermen who were kidnapped, beaten and forced into piracy.

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