WASHINGTON (AP) — Jury selection is beginning in the case of a Somali man who is charged with piracy and has spent 2½ years in a Washington, D.C., jail awaiting trial.
Authorities allege that 51-year-old Ali Mohamed Ali negotiated a ransom for Somali pirates during a November 2008 pirate takeover of a Danish merchant ship in the Gulf of Aden. Ali faces up to life in prison and has pleaded not guilty.
Twice in the last two years, U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvelle ordered Ali released pending trial — only to have the appeals court reverse her.
Huvelle ruled last month that the lengthy pretrial lockup violated Ali's due-process rights. Ali was out of jail less than 24 hours before the appeals court reversed her and he was ordered back into custody.