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."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Starting the day with a three-egg omelette could make people more charitable, according to new research
science
News
Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
people
News
Comedian Ted Robbins collapsed on stage during a performance of Phoenix Nights Live at Manchester Arena (Rex)
people
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
News
Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
Life and Style
Torsten Sherwood's Noook is a simple construction toy for creating mini-architecture
tech
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
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

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links