The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is “an accomplice in the torture of a Briton in Somalia”


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is “an accomplice in the torture of a Briton in Somalia”

LONDON – A British citizen has claimed to have been tortured in Somalia and questioned by US intelligence agents, fearing that controversial post-9/11 “war on terror” practices are still being used.

The 45-year-old from London alleges he suffered a balaclava, sensory deprivation and waterboarding at the hands of Somali authorities to persuade him, he believes, to cooperate with the CIA. Foreign Office officials are aware of the allegations of torture and US involvement, but their inaction has raised questions about UK complicity.

David Taylor, whose name has been changed at his family’s request, has been held without charge in Somalia for two years and fears that unless the British government intervenes he risks being executed by a military court or to be returned to the United States. His family, based in London, say they are “sorry” about the situation and accused the Foreign Office of having “completely abandoned”.

Legal documents outlining the case were sent to the Foreign Office last week, warning that it has until Wednesday to respond to “ongoing failures” regarding its approach or face judicial review by senior officials. Court. The nine-page submission also indicates that alleged US interest in Taylor continues. He claims that on June 30, “two US officials who identified themselves as FBI agents” interrogated him in Mogadishu.

The document states: “They asked the applicant if he wanted to live in the United States. They also showed him pictures of various people asking him if he knew them.

One of the images was of Mahdi Hashi, an Anglo-Somali citizen of Camden, north London, who was secretly transferred from Djibouti to the United States in 2012 after extensive questioning by the CIA.

He was jailed for supporting the al-Shabaab terrorist group but released last year. Although no formal reason – or evidence – appears to have been given for his detention, the use of such images and the apparent CIA involvement suggest that US officials suspect Taylor of links to al-Shabaab.

Taylor’s son, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “My father was left to languish in a foreign prison, in dangerous conditions, without charge or any good reason. He is a British citizen and he had no support from his country. Knowing that my father was tortured, interrogated and threatened with death is terrifying and extremely distressing. I’m heartbroken and afraid of what might happen to him if he stays there longer. How can we still allow this to happen? He added: “I call the Foreign Ministry daily to ask them to help me and I implore them to do everything in their power to bring my father home.”

The Foreign Office has been aware of Taylor’s detention since April 2019 and allegations of torture since at least last December when his ex-wife in London contacted them.

The document describing the case of Fahad Ansari of Riverway Law states: “He was denied any form of protection which allowed him to be tortured, interrogated without a lawyer and detained without charge for more than two years in inhumane conditions and degrading treatment, during which he was refused medical treatment. Ansari, who speaks to Taylor regularly, says that unless Foreign Minister Dominic Raab intervenes, “there is a real risk that he will be tried by a military tribunal and sentenced to death or made extrajudicial. in the USA “.

Taylor moved to Somalia in 2009 and remarried, but on April 13, 2019, he was arrested after traveling to Yemen seeking consular assistance to replace a lost passport so he could return to London. He was taken to a military base and after three months, according to legal documents, “he was told that someone from the CIA wanted to see him. The official introduced himself as ‘John’. He had an American accent.

On September 19, 2019, he was transferred to Mogadishu, then arrested, blindfolded, handcuffed and taken to a location he suspects to be the town of Janale, about 100 km southwest of the Somali capital.

“He ended up in a room with a white lady and a white man. The lady spoke with an American accent and identified herself as “Roxanne”. The applicant [Taylor] asked her to confirm the agency or organization she represented, but she refused to do so, ”the document says.

Over the next five weeks, according to the document, Taylor was interviewed daily by Roxanne with questions about himself and other British citizens. In the meantime, he claims, he has been tortured by the Somali authorities. “On one occasion he was pointed a gun at his head and told that if he did not cooperate with the Americans he would be killed immediately,” the document said.

At the end of 2019, Taylor was transferred to Mogadishu central prison where he remains in a cell with 59 other prisoners, including Islamist activists, with only one toilet. It is also the same cell where British citizen and security guard Antony Cox had his throat slit with a razor blade by two ISIS-linked detainees in January 2019.

Cox, who survived the attack, was arrested with tear gas canisters in his bag as he tried to leave the country after working for a private American company that had trained African troops to fight al-Shabaab. It is believed he has since been released without any record of his conviction.

Taylor says he received death threats from other prisoners in the cell and was accused of being a British spy.

Despite repeated requests from his British lawyers for the Foreign Office to contact Taylor, it is understood that they have not yet done so.

Naila Ahmed of the Cage campaign group said if the US had such access to the Briton, it would be highly unlikely that the UK would have been kept in the dark. “The circumstances surrounding his torture, medical negligence and interrogation by the CIA and FBI, despite [Foreign Office] awareness of his situation suggest gross negligence at best and British complicity in the gravest of human rights violations at worst. We call for his immediate repatriation to the UK, ”she said.

A spokesperson for FCDO said: ‘We have tried on several occasions to contact the British national and will continue to do so. We are also in contact with the local authorities who provide support to the family. The CIA has been contacted for comment.


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