The mother of a Somali pirate detained by the United States is asking President Obama to release her son.

"I appeal to President Obama to pardon my teenager," said Adar Abdirahman Hassan, according to the Associated Press. "I request him to release my son or at least allow me to see him and be with him during the trial."

The suspected pirate, Abdi Wali Abdulqadir Muse, is allegedly one of the four pirates who seized the Maersk Alabama and held Capt. Richard Phillips hostage for several days in a lifeboat. Muse was apprehended by the U.S. Navy just before the other pirates were shot by snipers.

A leader of Hassan's clan said the teenager was not acting under his own free will.

"As a clan elder, I urge the president of America to release this teenager who was tricked into joining pirates," said Abdiwahab Mahmud Gurey, who, like Hassan, lives in Galka'yo, Somalia.

Hassan expressed confidence that the U.S. will treat her son well.

"I was delighted when I heard that my son is in the hands of the Americans because I know America has huge respect for human rights," she told the AP.

Yet Hassan told the AP the potential loss of her son is devestating.

"I sometimes find myself weeping," she said. "The absence of my eldest son brings tears to my eyes...You know the feelings of a mother, it is even stronger than that of a father. When I sleep I wake up shocked and start praying until I cool down. I hope President Obama will hear my plea and let my dear son go."

She added that "gangsters with money" must have coerced her son into piracy.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said that the four pirates were between the age of 17 and 19, contrary to Hassan's claims.

Muse, also identified in press reports as Abduhl Wali-i-Musi, arrived in New York today to face possible federal charges that could carry a life sentence.