Ballad of a thin man

Omar Jamal of of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center played a walk-on role when prosecutors indicted Somali pirate Abdiwali Abdiqadir Muse in New York. He made contact with family members of the pirates during the hostage standoff and spoke up on their behalf.

Jamal announced that Muse’s family members “don’t have any money. The father has some camels and cows and goats outside the city. … The father goes outside with the livestock and comes home at night. Father said they don’t have any money, they are broke.” Jamal sought to to get a lawyer for Muse and to ascertain whether he had medical or mental problems.

Jamal had a sympathetic assessment of Muse’s plight: “What we have is a confused teenager, overnight thrown into the highest level of the criminal justice system in the United States out of a country where there’s no law at all.”

Jamal works out of our own backyard in St. Paul, but one has to go to the Financial Times to find a report on his latest exploits. The Financial Times reports that Jamal worked for months as the middleman in another Somali pirate drama. At the behest of the owner of a ship seized and held by Somali pirates for 10 months, Jamal somehow negotiated its release.

The FT describes the result as “a striking cut-price deal to free a largely forgotten group of men whose abandonment contrasted with the diplomatic pressure, military intervention and millions of dollars in ransoms and negotiating fees expended to liberate other kidnapped ships.”

Something is happening here but you don’t know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?

Via Tom Steward.


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