Federal investigators have arrested a former Somali army officer who is now living in Springfield, Virginia.
Homeland Security Investigations says 69-year-old Yusuf Abdi Ali, a.k.a. “Tukeh,” committed human rights abuses against Somali civilians during the 1980s, which investigators say include extrajudicial killing; torture; cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment; and arbitrary detention.
In 2019, CNN reported that Ali was working as a rideshare driver for Uber and Lyft.
Later that year, a jury in the Eastern District of Virginia found Ali liable in a civil suit for the torture of a Somali herder and awarded the plaintiff $500,000 in damages.
He was not criminally charged until recently. Investigators say he was arrested in Springfield on Thursday.
Homeland Security Investigations says Ali served as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Somali National Army and Commander of the Fifth Brigade in Northwest Somalia from approximately May 1987 to July 1988 under the dictatorship of Siad Barre.
“While Yusuf Abdi Ali’s apprehension cannot undo the pain that he allegedly inflicted upon the victims of his purported human rights abuses, it is my sincere hope that by seeing him answer for his apparent role in these heinous crimes, they will be given some form of peace,” said Derek W. Gordon, acting special agent in charge of HSI Washington, D.C. in a press release.
“HSI Washington, D.C. is dedicated to protecting the law-abiding residents of the Washington, D.C. Metro area, while continuing to search out those who intend to benefit from the abuse of others.”
Since 2003, HSI says it has arrested more than 480 individuals for human rights-related violations and obtained deportation orders against and removed 1100 known or suspected human rights violators from the United States.