Former Somali military commander on trial in US

Colonel Yusuf Abdi Ali, the accused

 
Trial began on Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in a lawsuit brought by a Somali national, Farhan Warfaa against Colonel Yusuf Abdi Ali, aka Tukeh, a former commander in the Somali National Army. 
 
Mr. Warfaa alleges that Col. Tukeh, a Virginia resident, played a role in the torture and attempted extrajudicial killing of Mr. Warfaa during the Siad Barre regime, the military dictatorship that ruled Somalia from 1969 to 1991. Mr. Warfaa is represented by the Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA).
 
According to his lawsuit, Mr. Warfaa was a teenager and semi-nomadic herder when, early one morning in 1987, he was rounded up with other men and boys from his village and taken to the Military Headquarters of the Fifth Brigade of the Somali National Army, where Col. Tukeh held command.
 
The case alleges that Col. Tukeh’s soldiers tortured and interrogated Mr. Warfaa, and that Col. Tukeh himself shot Mr. Warfaa five times at point blank range, leaving him for dead. Miraculously, he survived. Mr. Warfaa alleges that he was targeted because he is a member of the Isaaq clan.
 
Over the next several days, the court will hear from Mr. Warfaa, as well as evidence in support of his claims from expert witnesses and eyewitnesses from Somalia.
 
The trial is expected to continue through the end of Thursday. At the close of trial, a jury will be asked to determine whether Col. Tukeh is legally responsible for Mr. Warfaa’s torture and attempted extrajudicial killing, and if so, whether compensatory and punitive damages should be awarded.
 
The case against Col. Tukeh represents the third case brought by CJA against alleged human rights abusers from the Siad Barre regime, and the first of these cases to go before a jury.
 
CJA Senior Legal Advisor Kathy Roberts said, “We’re thrilled that after so many years and from so many miles away that our client Farhan Warfaa will finally have his day in court.”
 
 
Center for Justice and Accountability
 
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