The state-sponsored blackmail and harassment of a former Haverstock schoolboy and other Somalis living in Camden by MI5 is a “national disgrace”, according to one of the country’s leading miscarriage-of-justice campaigners.
Solicitor Gareth Peirce – who has represented the Guildford Four, Birmingham Six, the family of Jean Charles de Menezes and Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg – spoke in support of Mahdi Hashi at a packed public meeting inside the Town Hall on Friday night.
The 23-year-old was stripped of his British citizenship after refusing to spy on young Muslims in Camden, according to his family.
Mr Hashi, who lived in Gilbey’s Yard, Chalk Farm, was later arrested in east Africa and taken to New York where he has been charged with being part of an international terrorist network. He has told his legal team how he was threatened with outlawed torture by US officials shortly after his capture in Djibouti last September.
Ms Peirce, whose law firm is based in Camden Town, said:
“Blackmail is unlawful. Threats, harassment and rendition are unlawful. These are crimes. If hundreds of Somalis under suspicion for travelling to east Africa get in touch with us and say they have been blackmailed and harassed, how many thousands of police and security officers are being deployed for this purpose? It’s a disgrace, a national disgrace, a badge of shame.”