Washington, D.C, Officials discovered that an accused Somali war criminal had been working as an airport security guard at Dulles International Airport.
The Somali national, Yusuf Abdi Ali, who lives in Alexandria, Virginia, is accused of torturing people during the country’s devastating civil war in the 1980s. Ali served as commander for brutal Marxist dictator Mohamed Siad Barre and is accused of terrorizing the Isaaq tribe and torturing members, burning villages, and carrying out mass executions.
Somehow, he passed through all of the FBI and TSA checks for the past six years, FOX5 reported. He was discovered by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority this week.
After the find, Ali was placed on administrative leave, and his airport access was revoked.
Rights groups estimate that Ali, allegedly also known as Colonel Tukeh, is one of more than 1,000 war criminals living and working inside the United States. In 1992, the Canadian Broadcasting Company documented allegations against Ali, with Somalis detailing personal accounts of torture and executions carried out under his watch. The CBC said he was deported to the U.S. after the report.
CNN reported that Ali now shares and apartment with his wife. He is being sued in a U.S. civil court, which a human rights organization filed in 2006, describing him as a “war criminal” who committed “crimes against humanity.”
“He oversaw some of the most incredible violence that you can imagine,” said Kathy Roberts, a lawyer with the Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA), the group. “He tortured people personally; he oversaw torture.”
Roberts added that he “arrested people, stole their stuff, burned villages, executed masses of people.” She said, “At one point he had a school come out to view an execution.”
Ali and his lawyer deny the accusations levied against him. “To tell you the truth, all is false. Baseless,” he told CNN this week.
“How dare anyone call him a war criminal,” his lawyer, Joseph Peter Drennan, told CNN. “Those are just allegations. If he is indeed a war criminal, take him to The Hague. Or if he is a war criminal, take it up with the immigration authorities. Don’t sue him in an American court… My client deserves to live in the U.S. just as any other legal permanent resident.”
His case is now heading to the Supreme Court in what could be a landmark decision about how the U.S. views foreign nationals who are accused of committing crimes abroad.
“The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority maintains a contract with Master Security to provide unarmed security services,” MWAA spokesman Rob Yingling told FOX5. “Master Security’s employees are subject to the full, federally-mandated vetting process in order to be approved for an airport badge, including a criminal history records check by the FBI and a security threat assessment by the TSA.”
Siad Barre—who called himself “Comrade Siad”—took power in 1968 and was forced from power in the early 1990s. Under his rule, he had “one of the worst human rights records in Africa,” the United Nations Development Programme stated.