Name:  Mahdi Hashi (according to FBI documents also known as “Talha”)

Date of Birth: August 18, 1989

Place of Birth: Mogadishu, Somalia

Citizenship: Originally Somali, Naturalized English (cannot hold dual English/Somali citizenship) and then stripped of English citizenship, essentially stateless

Date Indicted: December 21, 2012

Charge: Material support to Al Shabaab, Unlawful use of Machine guns

Key Issues: English Citizenship stripping, Rendition

Case Profile:

Mahdi Hashi was born in Mogadishu in 1989 to Somali parents who took him to live in England because of the impact the Somali civil war was having on their lives. Mahdi earned his English citizenship in 2004 at the age of fifteen. Mahdi was forced to give up his Somali citizenship and nationality because Somalia does not accept dual citizenship. Therefore as a result of receiving his English citizenship he would no longer have his Somali citizenship or nationality and would be from then on an English person. In 2005 he finished his education in England chose to study Arabic in Egypt.

While studying in Egypt, at only the age of sixteen, he was held under gun point by Egyptian to police to reveal his passport. The police officers detained Hashi under the presumption that his passport was expired even though it was not. Because this was not the case he was quickly released from his detention and he then went to renew his passport so that a mishap such as this would not occur again. Even though he renewed his passport quickly Hashi was again called to answer questions from the police. This time he was held in a 3×3 meters jail cell for eleven days without any knowledge of the charges being made against him. His family had no idea where he was and that he had been detained. It was only after communicating with the British embassy in Cairo that the family learned of his detention. Due to the horrible conditions of his detention Mahdi Hashi went on hunger strike in protest. After his release he learned through the English embassy that Egyptian authorities had thought he had links to Al Qaeda specifically Chechen and members from the Caucasus region. Hashi was then deported from Egypt for supposedly having an expired visa (which was not the case) and banned from entering the country. On return to his family in England he was interrogated by English airport security for three hours. His interactions with law enforcement would not end here.

After returning to England involved in social groups, began his interest in pursuing engineering as a career and even started to care for the differently abled. He soon learned that his grandmother was ailing and Somalia and of his family he was most able to help. However, he was never able to make it to Somalia he was detained by MI5, interrogated and asked to name Muslim he had been associated with who were now part of terrorist plots, he was essentially being forced to become an informant on the basis of unsupported claims which had followed him from Egypt. The Mi5 agents also asked him his thoughts on jihad, suicide bombings and questions about specific people and their behavior in mosques. Hashi told them he could not help them with the information the MI5 agents wanted.

In 2009 he was finally able to go and stay with his grandmother in Somalia. Over the next couple of years in the country he found his future wife and even had a son. He had started a family life in Somalia. Without warning the next thing that his family learned of Mahdi, in 2012, was that he had been detained in Djibouti, which neighbors Somalia and being interrogated by Djibouti and US authorities. Worst of all the family learned that UK Home Secretary Theresa May had stripped Mahdi Hashi of his UK citizenship. She was able to do this in her capacity of Home Secretary unilaterally and without parliamentary vote. May stated that she was removing his citizenship because the English secret service had determined that Hashi was involved in Islamic extremist activities and for the public good and national security it was important for her to strip him of his British nationality. By being stripped of citizenship Hashi would not receive protection of English law while facing the charges of which he had been accused. Furthermore by being stripped of his British citizenship and also not having Somali nationality as a result of his earlier acceptance of British citizenship, Hashi is no essentially stateless. This is illegal under English law but in spite of court rulings to supporting the idea that people cannot be rendered stateless by the English government, Hashi remains to this day essentially stateless and May continues to remove the citizenships of English citizens.

In December of 2012 after he was interrogated by Djibouti and American authorities Hashi along with two other foreign nationals were rendered to the United States and charged with given support to a terrorist organization in an US District Court in Brooklyn, NY. The United States government charged that Hashi and the other foreign nationals had not only taken part in training from Al Shabaab but had been active in violent plots in Somalia, including the use of machine guns. According to FBI documents the group including Hashi had been detained by US authorities on their way to Yemen. If convicted of the charges of giving material support to Al Shabaab and using machine guns the group faces minimum of thirty years in prison to life.

As a result he is only able to rely on his own physical will to protest his conditions. After the allegation of giving material support to Al Shabaab and using a machine gun were made he was sent to Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan. Hashi, like his time in Egyptian prison, is once again on hunger strike but due to the length of his hunger strike his liver has started to fail. He has been subjected to Special Administrative Measures (SAMs) in which includes twenty-three hour Solitary Confinement session and restricted contact with loved ones and family. Since the time of his original allegations another allegation by an US Attorney has been made against Hashi. According to an article by Professor Falguni Sethi in, allegations have been made that Hashi and his group know about a substantial Al Qaeda chemical weapons program.

For Hashi being stateless and in prison facing these serious allegations is an incredibly tenuous position. He was taken from his home and rendered to a country he had never visited to serve trial and jail time. He has been followed throughout his life by unsupported allegations from his teenage years that he belonged to terrorist organizations from Al Qaeda to Al Shabaab. Now most precariously, as a result of being stripped of English citizenship, he is essentially stateless and can appeal to no government body for human and civil rights protections in the face of harsh and unfair interrogation and detention tactics. Right now only civil and human rights advocates are Hashi’s only hope of seeking justice in the legal situation he now faces.

Related Links:

Mahdi Hashi- The Story:

This link is to a website dedicated to Mahdi Hashi’s case. It depicts his life from early childhood to the early present. It humanizes Hashi’s life to show him as a caring human being who cared not only for the people in his family but also his local English community. This particular section of the site is a biography and a narrative timeline of Hashi’s life up until he was detained by authorities in Djibouti.

This is counterterrorism?: The shocking story of Mahdi Hashi:

This article details the treatment of Mahdi Hashi after the alleged charges made against him an US District Court in Brooklyn, NY.  It documents that he has been subject to Special Administrative Measures including twenty-three hour solitary confinement sessions and that Hashi is currently undergoing a hunger strike.

Three Supporters of Foreign Terrorist Organization al Shabaab Charged in Brooklyn Federal Court, Face Life in Prison:

FBI documents which name the charges against Hashi of material support to Al Shabaab and using a machine gun. It mentions that he faces potentially thirty years to life in prison if he is considered guilty.

Theresa May strips British passport from Muslim care worker who refused to join MI5 and may now be in African prison:

This article talks about how Hashi was stripped of his English citizenship just by having secret service assume he had taken part in terrorist activities. It also mentions that this citizenship stripping power uniquely belongs to Theresa May Home Secretary of the UK

Citizenship Revoked: Theresa May overruled security services in citizenship-stripping case:

An article which describes at length the citizenship stripping power of Theresa May and her attempts to make such a power a more permanent part of her position.