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Somali negotiator acquitted in Clipper piracy charges

51-year-old Somali Ali Mohamed Ali has been acquitted in the United States for charges of piracy, even though he handled the ransom negotiations in relation to the hijacking of CEC Future in 2008 - the incident that inspired the movie "The Hijacking."

Even though 51-year-old Somali-born Ali Mohamed Ali was on board Cipper's hijacked ship CEC Future in 2008, in his capacity as negotiator for the pirates, it did not constitute an act of piracy on his behalf.

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That was the verdict of the American jury, which according to The Guardian has just acquitted the Somali, who at one time served as the country's Minister of Education. The hijacking of CEC Future took place in November 2008, and just a few days after the attack Ali Mohamed Ali boarded the ship to handle the ransom negotiations with Clipper's CEO at the time, Per Gullestrup. The events that transpired with the hijacking and the subsequent negotiations later formed the basis of Danish movie "The Hijacking."

New charges

Ali Mohamed Ali, who was facing a potential life sentence for the piracy charges, is still a long way from being free. Two new charges await him, which the court will now asses. These concern hostage taking and conspiracy with the intent of hostage taking.

However, Per Gullestrup remains hopeful following the acquittal in the first charge:

"I'm not surprised that he was acquitted of piracy. Let's see what happens with the other two charges, I find them much more interesting than the first one," Gullestrup tells ShippingWatch.

According to the newspaper, Ali Mohamed Ali was relieved when the verdict was read in Washington, DC, in the United States, which at the time arrested the ransom negotiator. This is also the reason the case is conducted in the United States.

Per Gullestrup testified in the case along with two other Clipper employees.

The ransom came to USD 1.7 million, after an original demand of USD 7 million.

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