Below reproduced in full is an article from the Leicester Mercury on the Local Leicestershire Police statement on the recent Thurnby Lodge’s Pig’s Head Incident inside the Local Muslim Community’s praying areas, and the second article comes from Russia Today presenting a more detailed report on Mahdi Hashi’s rendition and torture.
Following the articles’ reprints we have a small list of few more interesting news headlines for your reading pleasure for this weekend.
Leicester Mercury Leicestershire Police & Thurnby Lodge
Leicestershire Police: ‘No tolerance for discrimination’
Police have warned that there is no tolerance in Leicester for discrimination.
They spoke after Liam Ferrar (24) admitted religiously-aggravated harassment aimed at the Muslim community.
The force said Ferrar was arrested and charged within three days of the incident, in which he left a pig’s head outside a community centre in Thurnby Lodge, in the city, where a Muslim group held prayers.
Superintendent Mark Newcombe said: “This was clearly a religiously- motivated offence which was directed at those using the community centre as a Muslim place of worship, who found the incident extremely upsetting and shocking.
“We have no tolerance for discrimination in Leicester, of any kind, and the majority of people in the area were left very upset by the incident.”
He said he hoped that Thursday’s hearing at Leicester Magistrates’ Court would “send a clear message to people like Ferrar, that all those in the criminal justice system will do all they can to bring you to justice”.
Judith Walker, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Everyone has the right to practice their faith without fear of harassment.
“There is no place in our community for this kind of action that deliberately targets people on the grounds of their religion and the Crown Prosecution Service takes this kind of offending extremely seriously.
“Liam Ferrar admitted that he had left the head at the community centre and, in charging the offence, we were satisfied that his actions were motivated by hostility to cause shock and distress.
“Pigs hold a particular significance in the Muslim faith and this action was highly offensive to his victims.”
The court was told that on the evening of December 25 last year, Ferrar went to Thurnby Lodge Community Centre, in Thurncourt Road, and placed the pig’s head by the locked doors.
The head was facing outwards, towards the worshippers from Muslim group As Salaam, who arrived at the centre the following morning, Boxing Day.
The community centre has been the scene of regular protests since the summer over a former Scout hut nearby, which Leicester City Council was going to allow As Salaam members to use for prayers instead of the community centre.
The protesters wanted the Scout hut to be kept for use by the wider community.
RT & Mahdi Hashi Story
British man claims he was tortured and forced to sign confessions by CIA
Published: 25 January, 2013, 22:48
Edited: 25 January, 2013, 22:48
A British man who was handed over to the CIA under the suspicion of being an Islamist terrorist says he was severely tortured by collaborators of the intelligence agency and forced to sign a confession.
Mahdi Hashi, a 23-year-old from London with a Somali background, was stripped of his British citizenship last year for being a suspected terrorist. After disappearing from England and spending months in a prison in the African country of Djibouti, he has turned up in a New York City courtroom, charged with terrorism offenses, the Daily Mail reports.
The young man told his British lawyers that he was severely abused and tortured while imprisoned in Africa, where CIA interrogators questioned him between the months of August and November. Although secret police in Djibouti were responsible for much of the torture, he says they worked in collaboration with US interrogators from the CIA and FBI.
Hashi says that Djibouti interrogators stripped him down to his underwear and threatened him with rape and sexual abuse while he was blindfolded, threatened to beat and electrocute him, and forced him to watch the torture that other prisoners endured.
Prisoners endured “beatings, being sexually abused, being pinned down naked and their testicles beaten,” Hashi told his lawyers.
At one point during his detention, Hashi was forced to watch a Swedish detainee horrifically tortured, which interrogators said would happen to him if he didn’t comply.
“They beat the soles of his feet, poured cold water on him and said they would electrocute him. There was screaming all around me and it was pretty horrific,” Hashi said.
The young man says American interrogators treated him better, but still forced him to sign a confession and a disclaimer waiving his right to silence and ignored his pleas to relay information about his detention and torture to British authorities. Because of their refusal to let the UK know about his whereabouts, the man remained ‘missing’ for four months, leaving his family in the dark about what happened to him.
After spending four months in an African prison and being forced to confess, Hashi was flown to the US, where he must now stand trial on charges of terrorism. His family discovered his whereabouts just before Christmas.
The US claims Hashi was involved in weapons and explosive training with the terrorist group al-Shabaab and was “deployed in combat operations to support military action in Somalia”. He currently faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.
Even though American interrogators were not directly involved in Hashi’s torture, they collaborated with the perpetrators and relied on information that was acquired via torture. If they did indeed force Hashi into confessing, then their actions raise further questions about the veracity of other claims they have made about suspected terrorists.
Hashi’s lawyers, Faisal Saifee and Saghir Hussain, believe that despite CIA claims that torture is no longer a method to procure information, interrogators continue to exploit such techniques by relying on others to do the dirty work – in this case, the secret police in Djibouti.
“These revelations will cast serious doubts on the credibility of the evidence that is being used against Mahdi,” Hussain said. “The prosecuting authorities in the US should be compelled by the trial judge to explain the exact circumstances in which this evidence was gathered.”
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