United States v. Ali, No. 12-3056 (D.C. Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Appellee, a Somali national, helped negotiate the ransom of a merchant vessel and its crew after they were captured by marauders in the Gulf of Aden. Appellee received a share of the ransom and also received a separate payment for his negotiation services. After appellee was appointed Director General of the Ministry of Education for the Republic of Somaliland, he was invited to attend an education conference in the United States. When appellee landed in the United States, he was promptly arrested. Appellee was indicted for conspiracy to commit piracy under the law of nations (Count One); committing piracy under the law of nations (Count Two); and conspiracy to commit hostage taking and aiding and abetting hostage taking (Counts Three and Four). On appeal, the government challenged the district court's dismissal of Counts One, Three, and Four, as well as limitation of Count Two. The court affirmed the district court's dismissal of Count One; reversed the district court's narrowing of the scope of Count Two to acts appellee performed while on the high seas; and reversed the dismissal of Counts Three and Four.