UK accused of role in rendition as missing 'Briton' faces US charges

 

Government ministers were facing questions last night about whether they were complicit in the rendition of a former UK citizen who has unexpectedly appeared before a US court months after disappearing in Africa.

Mahdi Hashi, 23,from Camden, north London, where he attended the same school as Labour leader Ed Miliband, had disappeared in Somalia when Home Secretary Theresa May issued a rare order withdrawing his citizenship earlier this year. Only a handful of such orders are issued each year.

His family had no idea where he was for five months until he appeared in a New York court on Friday accused of terrorism. Last night, his British lawyer, Saghir Hussain, said: "This has all the hallmarks of rendition. It appears the withdrawal of citizenship and the kidnapping by the Americans may have been co-ordinated.

"I am calling on the British Government to give us answers as to what they knew and what their role was. Can they offer assurances they were not complicit in the secret detention and rendition?"

Mr Hashi, 23, appeared at the Federal District Court in Brooklyn along with Ali Yasin Ahmed, 27, and Mohamed Yusuf, 29, facing charges they had trained to be suicide bombers with Somali al-Shabaab terrorists.

According to the New York Times, the case has been shrouded in mystery and under seal for four months and there was little detail offered in court.

A FBI statement accused him of "providing material support" to the militant group, participating in "an elite suicide-bomber" programme, and being on combat operations in Somalia.

Mr Hashi disappeared from his home on the outskirts of Mogadishu earlier this year. In June, his family were notified he had been stripped of his British citizenship due to his alleged involvement in Islamic extremism.

His father, Mohamed, last night said the family had only discovered his whereabouts from media reports and accused the US government of denying him rights. "We are not some slaves who can be passed around from one owner to another," he said. "Why was our son sent to the US? He has been a British citizen for 15 years but then his citizenship was taken away suddenly and now we find out that he's in New York? Our family had to find out this news from public news sources as no one has contacted us until now. We are very worried about his condition as we have no information. The US have not given our son any rights – we don't know where he's being held, how to contact him or how he's being treated. It is shocking that something like this can be done to someone based on accusations and suspicion only."

US court documents claim Mr Hashi and two Swedish men were detained in Africa by "local authorities" in August before being handed to the FBI on 14 November and flown to New York the next day. His family deny he has ever been involved in terrorist activities, insisting he was planning to return to Britain to study.

The young man, who moved to the UK aged five, was among a group of Somalis in London who had previously claimed MI5 had subjected them to a campaign of harassment and had threatened to label them as terrorists unless they agreed to work as informants. Yesterday, Asim Qureshi, research director for the human rights group CagePrisoners, said: "Mahdi Hashi has been the subject of all manner of unlawful behaviour. We believe that since the problems the UK Government has had with deportations and extraditions, it has been easier for them to remove the citizenship of individuals, thus allowing them to be victims of drone strikes or rendition by third-party countries.

"Mahdi is the latest example of how the UK Government has disingenuously used the citizenship removal, to permit others forms of illegality to take place."

UK ministers have denied any complicity in rendition. But the news about Mr Hashi comes 10 days after the British government paid £2.2m to Libyan dissident Sami al-Saadi, who claimed MI6 played a key role in his rendition to Tripoli, where he was tortured and imprisoned by Muammar Gaddafi's regime. A Home Office spokesman said last night: "We don't comment on operational security."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
science
News
people
Life and Style
President Obama, one of the more enthusiastic users of the fist bump
science
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode
tv
Life and Style
Upright, everything’s all right (to a point): remaining on one’s feet has its health benefits – though in moderation
HealthIf sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Agile Tester

£28000 - £30000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: An ambitious...

Senior SAP MM Consultant, £50,000 - £60,000, Birmingham

£50000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Senior SAP MM C...

SAP BW BO

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP BW BO - 6 MONTHS - LONDON London (Gr...

HSE Manger - Solar

£40000 - £45000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: HSE Mana...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried