Trials & Litigation

After Blasting Prosecutors, Federal Judge Releases Piracy Case Defendant, Axes 2 of 4 Charges

After blasting prosecutors in a Friday hearing, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday released a defendant in a Somali piracy case while the government appeals some of her pretrial rulings and dismissed two of the four counts he faced.

The appeal could delay the trial of Ali Mohamed Ali for months. It had been scheduled to begin next week, reports the Associated Press in a brief update.

Ali will be confined to a friend’s home in Centreville, Va., while awaiting developments in the case. He is accused of helping to negotiate a ransom after Somalis took over a Danish merchant ship in 2008.

U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvell took umbrage Friday when federal prosecutors told her that Ali had been in international waters less than half an hour.

Additional and related coverage: “Federal Judge Blasts US Prosecutors for ‘Unbelievably Inexcusable Behavior’ in Somali Piracy Case”

Christian Science Monitor: “Somali pirate gets 25-year sentence: Will it be a deterrent?”

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