Mahdi Hashi: Briton, 23, accused of working with terror group secretly quizzed by CIA for three months

Briton, 23, accused of working with terror group secretly quizzed by CIA for three months in African prison
Mahdi Hashi, who
vanished last summer in Somalia, turned up in a New York courtroom just
before Christmas, charged with terrorism offences

By
Robert Verkaik

PUBLISHED:

00:39 GMT, 6 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:00 GMT, 6 January 2013

A British man controversially stripped of his citizenship last year by the Home Secretary has spent three months being interrogated by US agents in an African prison.

Mahdi Hashi, 23, from London, who vanished last summer in Somalia, turned up in a New York courtroom just before Christmas, charged with terrorism offences.

His sudden appearance in America five months after his family had reported him missing has prompted claims that he is the victim of international kidnap or ‘rendition’.

Hashi

Charged: Mahdi Hashi, 23, from London, who
vanished last summer in Somalia, turned up in a New York courtroom just
before Christmas, charged with terrorism offences

Now it has emerged that between August and the middle of November he was being questioned by teams of agents from the CIA and FBI while being held by the secret intelligence service of Djibouti, a small African state that borders Somalia.

The former care worker lost contact with his family while staying in Somalia last year. When they began looking for him, they were told by Foreign Office officials that the British Government could not provide assistance because the Home Secretary Theresa May had issued an order depriving him of his UK citizenship over allegations of Islamic extremism.

Ragout

A Mail on Sunday report after Hashi, who came to Britain from Somalia when he was five, appeared in court

A few weeks later he was detained by Djibouti’s secret police, who it is claimed raided a house in which he was staying in the capital, Djibouti City.

A source close to the case said Mr Hashi was taken to the intelligence service headquarters, where he spent nearly four months before being sent to America for trial.

‘He was sojourning in Djibouti when he was picked up by Djibouti’s secret intelligence officers and thrown in a cell in solitary confinement,’ said the source.

‘Soon after he was visited and interrogated by FBI officers and then later by the CIA.’

The American interrogations were continuous and all the time the Djibouti security officers were present, said the source.

‘It was as if they were telling him that if he didn’t fully co-operate with the Americans, he would be left to the special interrogation skills of the Djiboutis,’ the source added.

On November 15, he was shackled and put on a plane for the US.

His case has been picked up by the US media as evidence of President Obama’s new rendition programme, where suspects who are deemed to pose a threat to the country are secretly held in African states allied to America.

Mr Hashi, who came to Britain from Somalia when he was five, is accused of working with the terrorist group al-Shabaab, which is at war with the government of Somalia. If convicted, he faces a life sentence.

His family deny that he has ever been involved in terrorist activities and say he was planning to return to London to complete his education.

He left Britain in 2009, firstly for Somalia where he married a local woman. He has a grandmother in Djibouti. Mr Hashi is now being held in solitary confinement in a top-security prison in New York.