Tag Archives: MI5

MAHDI HASHI ON HUNGER STRIKE IN US PRISON

The following is an article just posted on the Channel 4 (UK) website detailing Mahdi’s hunger strike and his now deteriating condition.

We must act now! Protest and take a stand to support this young man’s struggle for freedom!

FREE HASHI NOW! STOP MI5 HARASSMENT! 

Hands off Somalia

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http://www.channel4.com/news/british-somali-terror-suspect-on-hunger-strike-in-us

Channel 4 News has learned a British Somali man imprisoned in the US for alleged terrorism has gone on hunger strike and is now in a “critical condition”, according to his family.

Mahdi Hashi was born in Somalia and grew up in Camden, north London, after his family moved to Britain when he was five, writes Fatima Manji.

The former community worker was controversially stripped of his British citizenship last year after being accused of fighting with al-Shabaab extremists in Somalia.

Mahdi and his father

The 24-year-old now faces the possibility of life in an American jail, without any support from his former home country.

For more than four weeks, Hashi has been on hunger strike, saying his body is all he has left to protest with. In a short phone call to his father on Thursday night he said doctors are now treating him for jaundice, but he remains determined not to eat. Mahdi’s family are growing increasingly fearful over his condition.

The FBI accuses Mahdi of fighting with militant group al-Shabaab in Somalia. It says he took part in weapons training and al-Shabaab’s suicide bombing programme. But Mahdi and his family deny the charges and say he moved to Somalia to start a new life after being harassed by British security services.

I caught up with Mahdi’s father Mohammad Hashi, who still lives here in London.

Trying to recruit

Mohammad Hashi says his son used to work for a community youth group called the Kentish Town Youth Workers, around five years ago. At the time, he says MI5 was constantly trying to recruit him and his friends. Mohammad says at times he was present, when MI5 agents were trying to call his son and that his son “was sick of it”.

In 2009, Mahdi complained to his local MP, Frank Dobson. Mr Dobson confirms he received a complaint from this group and took it to the Home Office, because he was concerned about the methods being employed by the security services against a group he believes were “doing good work to combat extremism and help Somali kids” in the area.

But according to Mahdi’s family the complaints made no difference and as Mahdi kept receiving calls, he decided to leave the UK and begin a new life in Somalia.

Then in summer last year, his family received a letter from the Home Office saying Mahdi was being stripped of his citizenship for being involved in terrorist activity.

The letter came as a shock to the Hashi family. They called Mahdi to tell him the news and urged him to go to the nearest British embassy to appeal.

But shortly afterwards Mahdi vanished. His family were unable to make contact with him and appealed to the Foreign Office to help, but as Mahdi was no longer a British citizen – no help was received.

‘Not involved’

Six months later, the family suddenly found out Mahdi was in prison in New York awaiting trial. The FBI released a statement in December 2012 saying Mahdi was one of three men “apprehended in Africa by local authorities while on their way to Yemen” and had been charged in a “sealed court”.

It alleges Mahdi was “deployed in combat operations to support al-Shabaab action in Somalia”.

Mohammad Hashi says he is confident his son was not involved with al-Shabaab or any other terrorist group while in Somalia. He says Mahdi was staying with his grandmother and he himself visited the house, stayed with him for a month and had not “come across any suspicious things”.

He also believes Mahdi was tortured before being renditioned to the US. The FBI told Channel 4 Newsit has nothing further to add at this stage.

The Hashi family are now appealing against the decision to strip his British citizenship, here in the UK. The Home Office says it can’t comment on the case while this is ongoing.

But as Mahdi remains on hunger strike with little access to his legal team in the UK, his father fears his son stands little chance of being able to make his case.

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UPCOMING EVENT: Fighting Racism in Britain -13 April @ 2pm LONDON

PUBLIC EVENT- DISCUSSION AND ORGANISING

WHEN: Saturday April 13 2013 @ 2pm

WHERE: Horn Of Africa Community Centre, Shepherds Bush, Lime Grove, W12 8EE

[Facebook event: www.facebook.com/events/506934212698740/]

HOS 13 April event

Britain’s brutal imperialist oppression around the world finds its mirror in a vicious racism at home. Black and Muslim people in particular bear the brunt of police racism and state repression.

Hands of Somalia works with the Somali community and others in Britain to fight racism. We have been involved in anti-deportation campaigns (Free Said) and other work to expose the role of British security services (MI5) attempting to recruit Somalis to spy on their own communities on behalf of the British state.

Come to our meeting and find out about Mahdi Hashi, a Somali youth worker from Kentish Town in London who was tortured, stripped of his British citizenship and secretly sent to trial in the US because he refused to work for M15 as an informer.

Speakers include:

#Hands off Somalia

#Revolutionary Communist Group

#Somali immigration lawyer

#And more…

<< PLUS >>

Plenty of time for open discussion and debate

Organising and planning for 7 May protest in London

** ALL WELCOME | FREE ENTRY | DONATIONS WELCOME **

Get angry – get organised – get involved in the fight against racism and imperialism.

Join Hands off Somalia!

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Mahdi Hashi and Britain’s intervention in Somalia

Written by Amina Cali for Hands off Somalia

As a Somali, I believe we have the freedom to chose, the freedom to elect our leaders and proudly watch our country prosper. We want to eliminate the root of corruption and the spread of hatred between clans. We want a united people and a united country. For too long, we have witnessed the bloodshed of our mothers and fathers; the list is endless.

Now it’s our time to manifest a government that will rule justly. Our history is deep, broad; we have the natural resources to rebuild our war-torn country. However, we can not be fooled by those who extend out one hand to ‘help’, whilst plotting to rob us of our resources with the other.

I was raised to believe that knowledge is the key to set your mind free. Indeed it is the next generation that can uphold the future. It is our duty to learn from the past so we can build a firm pillar for the present and invest in ourselves in order to excel. Anything is possible when we come under one banner. We should not forget it is for our own benefit when we compete with others.

Why Somalia?

Due to recent oil discoveries around the region of the east coast of Africa, western countries have had an immense urge to become involved with Somalia. China and Turkey have taken the initiative to help the war torn regent by supplying human aid, clean water etc, in order to build a relationship with its host for future businesses. “Why now?” is the question that keeps coming back to me, when the country was in turmoil for twenty-one years.

There were previous attempts on locating oil wells, without much prevail. It is now a stated fact that the information used previously was incorrect, hence the reason as to why the oil and other natural resources were never found.

Since the new discovery, countries involved have been all of a sudden eager to lend a helping hand, to supply Somalia with the means of constructing and extracting this black gold.

Many countries that have had oil for many years are now running low with supply. So the buyers plot to extend a business plan that is very much tempting on the outside, but in reality will benefit very few people in the country itself.

The leader of our country should by now be thinking purely of the well-being of our citizens to safeguard Somalia’s interests. A new light has been ignited for the Somali people and it shines brightly, so now is the time for our leaders to either lead or be led.

Mahdi Hashi

After many years of imperialism, Britain has the nerve to still dominate over the people they have long oppressed both abroad and at home. Mahdi Hashi is an example of this. He is a young Somali man, born in Somalia but raised in Britain, being treated unjustly. A promising student and youth worker, Mahdi has an exceptional reputation.

Whilst visiting Somalia and nearby Djibouti, Mahdi was detained on phoney ‘terrorism’ charges with the help of the British government who then revoked his British citizenship and helped render him to the US.

Camp Lemmonnier

Hashi was believed to be held for a time at America’s military base in Djibouti, Camp Lemonnier

The British government say Mahdi lost his rights to live in the UK because of the ‘public good’ with very little proof of what ‘bad’ Mahdi has ever committed.

In Britain the law of stripping someone’s citizenship is hardly even known about by the citizens themselves. Furthermore due to the recent discoveries in Somalia, foremost of which is oil, laws like this have intensified in order to criminalise the exact people (Somalis) that the British government has plans to further exploit and impoverish back home.

Mahdi has never been affiliated with any terrorist groups. That aside, the more likely explanation for Mahdi’s abduction is something more sinister.

We should ask how is it possible for these authorities to imprison a young man, in order to force him to ‘give’ information on certain organisations? It is a well known tactic to abduct a person, so they become scared into admitting something which they don’t know, by means of mental and physical torture. We know the British and US governments routinely use these tactics.

Intimidation and harassment

Since 2006 the British secret services and police, including MI5, had been intimidating and harassing Mahdi. In 2009 they attempted to obtain his services as a ‘snitch’ (informer) on his own community back in Britain. This was a plan that was never to be a success but ultimately mean Mahdi would pay the price for resisting this campaign of terror.

Mahdi and his father

Mahdi and his father

Then in 2012, the 23 year-old was abducted and tortured in a prison in Djibouti subsequently being handed over to US agents. In a recent interview with his lawyer, Mahdi Hashi explained his painful experience in the hands of the secret police in Djibouti where he was threatened with physical and sexual abuse.

Whilst in prison, Mahdi witnessed other detainees being tortured and explained that they were stripped and hung upside down. The following day Mahdi was cautioned to work with authorities or else he would be beaten and sexually abused like the other prisoners. This is how the US and Britain obtain so- called ‘information’ for their so-called ‘war on terror’.

Mahdi’s parents, who became worried sick after months of being unable to contact him, found out about his ordeal and are now having to deal with the thought of knowing that their son was tortured yet still unjustly detained by the US government where is now resides. Mahdi’s mother said “We will never give up our rights and our faith. If we die for life, we do not care”. Her will to fight is inspiring us all.

A more recent photograph of former Haverstock School pupil Mahdi Hashi

A more recent photograph of former Haverstock School pupil Mahdi Hashi

If it is now revealed that Mahdi is being held as a prisoner in the United States, why haven’t the British government gone to his aid? We know it’s because they are involved in his torture and unlawful detention. They speak of equality and freedom but so far Mahdi’s equality and freedom have been torn away quickly and easily because he would not join the British government to further criminalise his own community.

Mahdi should not be held in prison and his torture was unlawful. The fight for justice for Mahdi Hashi continues, as does the fight for justice for all Somalis demonised by imperialism.

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Upcoming meeting Stop MI5 Blackmail – 18th Jan 2012

Come and attend the upcoming meeting to discuss the role of MI5 police blackmail activities effecting people in our communities. The case of Somali Mahdi Hashi and others like him will undoubtedly be discussed and it will be a place to meet new people to support the campaign. The meeting is free to attend and you should tell everyone about it!

No to police harassment! Free Mahdi now! Hands off Somalia!

Public Meeting

Stop MI5 blackmail!   Protect UK citizenship from attack!

7-9pm
Friday 18 January 2013

Council Chamber,
Camden Town Hall,
Judd St (near Kings Cross station)

Speakers include:

  • Saghir Hussain, Director, CagePrisoners
  • Sharhabeel Lone, Director, KTCO
  • Mohamed Nur, community worker, KTCO
  • Kurdish Federation UK
  • Tom Foot, journalist, Camden New Journal
  • George Binette, Branch Secretary, Camden UNISON
  • Frances Webber, Vice-President, Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers
  • Les Levidow, CAMPACC

Aims of the meeting:

  • To expose and stop MI5 practices of blackmail
  • To encourage individuals to refuse cooperation and expose blackmail attempts
  • To demand government accountability for such crimes
  • To protect UK citizenship from being withdrawn
  • To bring more organisations into the protest

Over several years MI5 has been systematically blackmailing individuals to spy on their communities.  In most cases, security agencies want information on political views and ordinary political activities. This covert surveillance spreads fear and distrust among communities here – all in the name of protecting ‘national security’.

In an extreme case, in October 2012 the Home Secretary withdrew the citizenship of a Somali-born UK citizen, Mahdi Hashi.  As a care worker in the Kentish Town Community Organisation (KTCO) in 2009, Mahdi had refused to become an MI5 informer. Then MI5 threatened him and four colleagues with being labelled as ‘Islamic extremists’ if they refused to become informers.

A more recent photograph of former Haverstock School pupil Mahdi Hashi

A more recent photograph of former Haverstock School pupil Mahdi Hashi

Madhi in particular felt so harassed by the MI5 that he left the country for Somalia, where he has family members. The Home Secretary later revoked his citizenship, thus preventing his return. After leaving Somalia he disappeared and was held at a secret detention site.

In December it became public that he was rendered to face ‘terrorism’ charges in a NY court.  There he is accused of participation in al Shabaab, a Somali group resisting foreign domination.   For details, see http://www.camdennewjournal.com/news/2012/dec/fathers-anger-family-are-told-former-camden-schoolboy-being-held-us-terror-charges

For several years MI5 had blackmailed many other British Somalis.  MI5 told the men, ‘Work for us or we will say you are a terrorist.’  When they refused to cooperate, MI5 acted on the threat: afterwards some were detained and interrogated on trips abroad.

For details, see
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/exclusive-how-mi5-blackmails-british-muslims-1688618.html
http://campacc.org.uk/index.php?mact=News,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=47&cntnt01returnid=133

Such practices are widespread.  Beyond a few well-publicised cases, MI5 has blackmailed hundreds of refugees, especially Kurds and Tamils. Refugees face much higher stakes: they could be deported to torture, or else they could be granted asylum as a reward for becoming informers.

Meeting is sponsored by:

the Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC), CagePrisoners, Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC), Kurdish Federation UK, London Somali Youth Forum, Hands Off Somalia, Camden Green Party. And supported by Camden Councillors Sarah Hayward (Leader of Camden Council) and Maya de Souza

For information contact:

CAMPACC estella24@tiscali.co.uk

tel. 020 7586 5892

www.campacc.org.uk

 

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ALI’S STORY – 14 years of injustice and struggle

ALI’S STORY – 14 years of injustice and struggle

Hands off Somalia interviews Ali, a Somali man from the Bajuni ethnic minority who came to Britain in 1998 during the Somali civil war.

This is his story as told by Ali himself, including details how he was targeted by MI5 and the resulting punishment of being imprisoned for an extra 9 months for no apparent reason. Ali still faces deportation and harassment from UKBA and the state as he is forced to return to court to defend himself this year.

This video documents his unjust and racist treatment Ali faced, not only fleeing severe conditions of poverty and persecution but living in poverty and incarceration whilst living as a refugee and immigrant in Britain.

Please see this study for more information on Bajuni Somali people
http://www.ucs.mun.ca/~dnurse/bajuni_database/general_document.pdf

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Missing Mahdi Hashi reappears in New York court

Mahdi Hashi, the British-Somali man who disappeared from east Africa shortly after being stripped of his British citizenship, appeared yesterday in a New York federal court alongside two Swedish men. All three appear to have been rendered by the United States from Djibouti, and have now been charged with terrorism offences.

A more recent photograph of former Haverstock School pupil Mahdi Hashi

A more recent photograph of former Haverstock School pupil Mahdi Hashi

Hashi, 23, is accused of ‘providing material support’ to Somali militant group al Shabaab. A statement released by the FBI revealed that Hashi has been in the US penal system since November 12. Neither his family nor his UK legal team were informed.

The US claims that between 2008 and 2012 Hashi carried out weapons and explosive training with al Shabaab and was ‘deployed in combat operations to support al Shabaab’s military action in Somalia.’ It adds that he allegedly participated in ‘an elite al Shabaab suicide bomber program’.

In June, Hashi’s family was notified that he had been stripped of his British citizenship; the Home Secretary claimed he was ‘involved in Islamist extremism’. Hashi and a group of Somali Muslim friends in Camden, London, 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.

Mohamed Hashi told the Bureau his son disappeared  from his home on the outskirts of Mogadishu weeks after losing his citizenship and that the family was later contacted by a man who said he had been held alongside Hashi in a jail in neighbouring Djibouti.

Related story – British-Somali man’s family fear US is secretly holding him

The fellow inmate also mentioned that two Somali-Swedes were in the facility. Hashi is charged alongside Ali Yasin Ahmed, 27, and Mohamed Yusuf, 29. The New York Times reports the men ‘appeared in court with the aid of a Swedish interpreter’, and Yusuf’s lawyer told Bloomberg his client held Swedish citizenship.

Hashi was taken from the jail by Americans, his family was told by the former prisoner. Yet until the case was unsealed yesterday, they had no further clue as to his whereabouts. The Bureau contacted the State Department on Thursday to ask if Hashi was in US custody and was told: ‘We do not have anything on this to share publicly at this time.’

Saghir Hussain, Hashi’s solicitor, told the Bureau: ‘It seems the US disappeared Mahdi Hashi for the past several months and rendered him to New York. The British government also needs to explain its involvement in this case.’

Asim Qureshi, research director of campaign group CagePrisoners said: ‘If Mahdi Hashi had still been a British citizen he would have had some protection. But he has had his citizenship taken away and that has left him open to being a victim of rendition to the US with no state to defend his rights.’

Continue reading

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The Somali man stripped of UK citizenship for refusing to spy on Muslims

Hands off Somalia thought this article was worth re-posting after the latest story in Camden New Journal covering the Hashi case (which also contains the important information about MI5 hassling Mahdi because he would not become an informer).

We hope people can attend our meeting on 1 December to discuss these issues.

 

[http://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/nov2012/spyi-n10.shtml (By Jean Shaoul 10 November 2012)]

The British government has stripped Mahdi Hashi, a 23-year-old British national who also held Somali nationality, of his UK citizenship. It is one of at least 13 such cases, mostly carried out by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government, since 2006.

Hashi’s family and friends insist that the government’s action was in response to his refusal to become an informant for MI5, Britain’s security service.

A more recent photograph of former Haverstock School pupil Mahdi Hashi

Last summer, the Home Office claimed in a letter to his parents in London that Hashi was a threat to UK national security due to his “extremist” activities. The letter stated the decision was made in part on the basis of secret evidence, which “should not be made public in the interest of national security.”

The young man, a care worker in the Kentish Town Community Organisation, was born in Somalia and came to London with his family when he was five. According to CagePrisoners, the human rights group headed by Moazzam Begg, who was illegally held at Bagram airbase and Guantanamo Bay before being released without charge in 2005, Hashi had been subject to continual harassment by MI5.

When he was 19, an MI5 officer at Gatwick airport warned him against travelling to Somalia to visit his sick grandmother. Hashi told the Independentin 2009, “He warned me not to get on the flight. He said ‘Whatever happens to you outside the UK is not our responsibility.’ I was absolutely shocked.”

Either he worked for the security service or he would face detention and harassment in the UK and overseas. He was detained at the airport at Djibouti and later deported, allegedly at Britain’s request and without explanation. On his return to London, he was detained again. He was subsequently bombarded with phone calls urging him to spy on his fellow Muslims if he wanted his terror suspect status lifted.

Hashi refused to work for MI5. He complained to the police, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal—the body that oversees MI5—and his MP, Labour’s Frank Dobson, to no avail. He also spoke to the media in a bid to protect himself.

Four of Hashi’s friends—all of Somali origin—also explained their experiences when they were approached by MI5, who tried to coerce them into working for it.

Mohamed Nur, said, “One day they, the MI5 officers, came to my house pretending to be postmen. When I let them in they accused me of being an extremist. They said the only way to remove that taint from my name is if you work for us, otherwise wherever you go we can’t protect you… We perceived it as blackmail.”

A disturbing advert placed in The Metro on 01/10/12 by MI5 to recruit Somali spies for the British government. These have also appeared in the Somali press in Britain

Abshir Ahmed said, “I felt bullied. I don’t want to work with MI5 so they should just leave me alone.”

When Adydarus Elmi, a 23-year-old cinema worker from north London, arrived at Chicago’s O’Hare airport with his pregnant wife, they were separated, questioned and deported back to Britain. Three days later he was to go to Charing Cross police station about his travel documents. He said, “I met a man and a woman. She said her name was Katherine and that she worked for MI5. I didn’t know what MI5 was.”

He was questioned for two-and-a-half hours in an attempt to get him to work for MI5. He added, “She would regularly call my mother’s home asking to speak to me, and she would constantly call my mobile.”

The agent telephoned his home at 7 in the morning to congratulate him on the birth of his baby girl. His wife was still seven months pregnant and the couple had expressly told the hospital that they did not want to know the sex of their child. He said that she threatened him saying, “If you do not want anything to happen to your family you will co-operate.”

None of the men were ever charged with an offence and Hashi’s family and friends reject the accusation he was an extremist. MI5’s harassment prompted him to return to Somalia, where he looked after his sick grandmother. He later married and had a child there.

At about the same time as the family received the letter from the Home Office revoking his citizenship, Hashi was taken into custody. A man who had been released from a prison in Djibouti told them that Hashi had been held alongside him in Naggar prison, where he was mistreated before being taken away by American forces. It is not known when, where or by whom he was arrested.

Mohamed Hashi, Hashi’s father, told Russia Today, “He [the fellow prisoner] told us that he had been fingerprinted and that DNA has been taken from him. The Americans, when they found out he was British citizen, contacted the British consulate and the British consulate said ‘we have already removed British citizenship from him.’ And the Americans took him somewhere, somewhere we don’t know.”

His family fear that he may have been taken to Camp Lemonier, in Djibouti, the notorious US anti-terrorist base that is part of the American extraordinary rendition programme whereby suspects are taken to third-party states to be illegally detained, interrogated and tortured.

Since the invasion of Somalia by Ethiopia in 2006, the US has expanded the base at Camp Lemonier and its operations in the Horn of Africa. Young British Muslims who are from or linked to the Horn of Africa are being profiled as likely to be involved as Islamic militants and subject to targeting by the police and security forces.

The British government has refused to give the family any assistance in finding their son because he is no longer a citizen. Lawyers acting on behalf of the family have asked the Home Office to explain where he is being held and the charges against him. But the government refused to say anything at all, stating, “It has been the policy of successive governments neither to confirm nor deny speculation, allegations or assertion in respect of intelligence matters.”

By revoking Hashi’s citizenship, the government is issuing a warning to young Muslims that failure to spy for MI5 will have serious consequences. It is also seeking to absolve itself from any responsibility for his safety, under conditions where he is certain to be subjected to illegal and inhuman treatment at the US base.

Home Secretary Theresa May can strip anyone with dual citizenship of their British citizenship without a court order if she believes it to be “conducive to the public good,” a test historically applied to non-Britons facing deportation. This little-known power was included in the 2006 Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act rushed through in the wake of the July 2005 London bombings that killed 52 people.

Previously, British citizenship of a dual national could only be revoked under the stricter test of being “seriously prejudicial to the vital interests of the UK,” which usually meant spying.

According to data obtained by the Guardian last year under the Freedom of Information Actfive of the dual nationals deprived of their citizenship were British Pakistanis and two were of dual British and Sudanese nationality. The remaining six were Australian (David Hicks, another Guantanamo detainee), Iraqi, Russian, Egyptian and Lebanese dual nationals.

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