Somalia terrorism, piracy cases in US courts

The US Department of Justice on Aug. 5 announced that 14 individuals have been charged with providing money, personnel and services to the Somalia-based designated terrorist organization al-Shabaab. Prosecutors in the Southern District of Alabama, the Southern District of California and the District of Minnesota unsealed four separate indictments accusing the 14 of terrorism violations. Also that day, two of the defendants, Amina Farah Ali and Hawo Mohamed Hassan—both naturalized US citizens—were arrested. (Jurist, Aug. 6)

On July 29, a group of suspected Somali pirates pleaded not guilty before the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The defendants, six Somali men alleged to have been involved in the April attack on the USS Ashland in the Gulf of Aden, pleaded not guilty to charges of piracy and assaulting a federal officer with a deadly weapon. Attorneys for the men argue that they could not have committed piracy because they did not seize or plunder the ship. The charge of piracy carries a mandatory life sentence if convicted. The trial is scheduled to begin in October.

Another group of suspected Somali pirates also pleaded not guilty a day earlier in the district court. This group was indicted on similar charges in relation to the attack on the USS Nicholas, also in April. Their trial date was set for November. (Jurist, July 29)

See our last posts on Somalia and the politics of piracy.

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