A Suspected War Criminal Has Been Working As Airport Security

A former commander in the Somali National Army suspected of war crimes has been found working at Washington Dulles International Airport.

A private security guard working at Dulles International Airport had his administrative access blocked this week after his employer discovered he had allegedly committed war crimes in Somalia in 1987, CNN reports.

Yusuf Abdi Ali, 63, who was discovered by CNN to be currently employed by private security contractor Master Security, was previously a commander in Somali National Army during Somalia’s bloody civil war.

A Somali man has come forward with a civil suit against Ali alleging that, “he was beaten, kicked, stripped naked and shot because Ali believed he was a supporter of an opposition group that had recently stolen a water tanker,” according to ABC.

Ali allegedly shot the man several times in an attempt to kill him, according to the lawsuit. 

What’s more, as the lawsuit claims, Ali evaded deportation from the United States in 1994, only to return to the U.S. two years later. Ali was also deported from Canada in the late ’80s, after committing the war crimes.

In order to be employed by Master Security and to receive an airport badge, Ali underwent thorough background checks including an FBI criminal history record check.

He had also received a security license from the Commonwealth of Virginia, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority told ABC.

According to Ali’s attorney, Joseph Drennan, Ali denies the war crime allegations. Furthermore, Drennan states that Ali reentered the U.S. legally in 1996.

Ali’s employer is investigating whether these allegations are true and has since temporarily revoked his access to Dulles International Airport.

Since Ali has not been convicted yet of these war crimes, and considering he did allegedly pass U.S. immigration, FBI, and Virginia state security checks, perhaps it is too early to deride the inadequacy of the federal and state background check system.

Whether or not Ali breached immigration regulations to enter the U.S., as the lawsuit against him states, is besides the point. Ali should be treated by the media and his employer as innocent until proven guilty.

This, along with the case of case of about 1,000 other accused war criminals residing in the U.S., presents the tricky question of how to bring these people to justice. Should they be deported to be tried in their home country or first tried in the U.S.?

Ali has apparently lived peacefully in the Washington, D.C. metro area for about twenty years. Furthermore, if he did immigrate to North America to escape his alleged criminal past, should he be given a chance to start over?

Twitter, as usual, has been sounding off on the matter...

Banner/Thumbnail Credit: REUTERS/Feisal Omar

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