Monday, January 28, 2013

Another rendition

Mahdi Hashi was a British citizen. Last year, he disappeared while in Somalia. Now, he's turned up in a US jail, telling the usual story of disappearance and torture:

Mahdi Hashi, who vanished last summer in Somalia, has described for the first time his 'horrific' ordeal at the hands of the secret police in the neighbouring state of Djibouti, who he claims worked closely with US interrogators.

The 23-year-old, who lived in London, alleges that he was stripped and repeatedly slapped before being threatened with electrocution and sexual abuse by officers who were attached to Djibouti's intelligence service.


Mr Hashi claims that he was then handed over to the Americans. He described how the first team of two US interrogators ignored his pleas to alert the British authorities to his detention and torture.

He claims they knew that he had been badly treated, but let him believe that he faced far worse if he refused to co-operate. A second team of three American interrogators – whom he says treated him better – then persuaded him to sign a confession and 'disclaimer' in which he agreed to waive his right to silence.

Meanwhile, while Hashi was being tortured, the British government was depriving him of his citizenship, to remove any chance of him gaining consular assistance. Its hard to see this as anything other than collusion in his treatment.

Hashi is now facing terrorism charges in the US. The primary evidence for those charges is the "confession" extracted by torture. Its use would be contrary to international and US law, not to mention basic judicial standards. But the US courts have been willing to ignore that in the past for other terrorism trials, ruling questions about torture inadmissible. In doing so, they are directly enabling and encouraging torture. Hopefully they'll change their mind in this case.