Former Haverstock schoolboy on hunger strike after being held in New York on terror charges

Thursday, 19th September 2013


Mahdi Hashi: held in cell

Published: 19 September, 2013

A FORMER Haverstock schoolboy who was captured by FBI agents and charged with serious terrorism offences is in a “critical condition” after going on hunger strike.

Mahdi Hashi, who grew up in Chalk Farm, told his family in a supervised telephone call on Thursday that he is refusing to eat and has been hospitalised with jaundice.

The 24-year-old is being held in a New York prison cell, accused of training with an extremist group in East Africa.

Solicitor Asim Qureshi, from Cage Prisoners campaign group, said: “All we know is he is on hunger strike.

"He has been going through a lot of difficulty and feels the unfairness of the process he has been going through. Prisoners go on hunger strike when they feel like they have nothing left.”

He believes that the authorities are not force-feeding Mr Hashi, who is still drinking liquids. But they are expected to make a risk assessment about his health in the coming weeks and decide whether to intervene.

Mr Hashi was arrested in Djibouti last year, weeks after he was stripped of his British citizenship by Home Secretary Theresa May.

She wrote to his family saying he had been linked with “Islamicist extremism” but they deny the charge, claiming he had been “harassed” by MI5 after refusing to inform on Camden Muslims.

Baroness Helena Kennedy, QC, challenged the decision to strip Mr Hashi of his citizenship in an immigration appeal court in July and is waiting for a judgment.

She told the New Journal that he had been “exposed to illegality and an abuse of human rights” by the British government. Miscarriage of justice solicitor Gareth Peirce has described Mr Hashi’s treatment as “a badge of shame” and a “national disgrace”.

Mr Hashi, who lived in Gilbey’s Yard, went to Primrose Hill and Rhyl primary schools.

He received certificates for good behaviour at Camden Town Hall and was photographed smiling alongside the then mayor, Councillor Roger Robinson.

According to the FBI, Mr Hashi was “deployed in combat operations to support al-Shabaab action in Somalia”.

Further details of the case against him have not been made available to the defence team.

Campaigners have warned that his rights will be denied to him in what they describe as a “secret court” set-up.

They are calling for him to face charges in Britain and for his citizenship to be restored.

The Home Office has repeatedly declined to comment on the case.

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