Somali Pirate May Receive Asylum in US

Published: February 17, 2014

AlialiApparently we just don’t have enough Somali pirates in Maine and Minnesota already. Prosecuted lured Ali Mohammed Ali to the United States for prosecution and then they ran into a Clinton judge.

Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle predictably took the side of the Somali pirate, as she had taken the side of Gitmo detainee Murat Kurnaz and now Ali Mohammed Ali is trying to apply for permanent asylum in the United States.

The failed prosecution of an alleged Somali pirate — and the fact that that failure could leave him living freely, and permanently, inside U.S. borders — is highlighting anew the risks of trying terror suspects in American courts.

Just a few weeks ago, Ali Mohamed Ali was facing the possibility of a mandatory life sentence in a 2008 shipjacking off the coast of Yemen — an incident much like the one dramatized in the film “Captain Phillips.” Now, the Somali native is in immigration detention in Virginia and seeking permanent asylum in the United States.

Is there any doubt about what Ali Mohamed Ali was really doing?

In a fascinating BBC special that airs today, the BBC’s Rob Walker follows the money for an inside look at how Somali “investors” organized the attack on the CEC Future, a Danish-owned cargo ship that was hijacked last year.

Most crucially, Walker tracks down “Mr Ali,” the man recruited by pirates as a negotiator because of his fluent English. Walker meets him in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, and Mr. Ali — real name is Ali Mohamed Ali — explains the division of labor and how much it costs to buy ammunition, food and fuel. Investors usually expect to bankroll several missions before getting a return on their investment. It can cost up to $6,000 to fund a single pirate expedition, but the ransoms can be substantial: In the case of the CEC Future, the pirates netted between $1 million and $2 million.

And now thanks to a Clinton judge, the Somali pirate is applying for asylum in the US. And under Obama Inc, he just might get it.


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