A Kenyan who disappeared from Nairobi’s Eastleigh suburb two years ago is being held at a secret CIA prison in Mogadishu, claims a US magazine.
Mr Ahmed Abdullahi Hassan is among several people snatched from Nairobi streets and “rendered” by plane to the prison in the basement of the Mogadishu headquarters of Somalia’s National Security Agency, writes investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill in the New York-based Nation magazine.
One of the men held in the secret prison told Clara Guttteridge, a researcher with a British legal rights group called Reprieve that he met Mr Hassan in the prison.
“Hassan, he said, had told him how Kenyan police had knocked down his door, snatched him and taken him to a secret location in Nairobi,” Mr Scahill writes. “The next night, he was rendered to Mogadishu.”
Kenya has denied knowledge of Mr Hassan’s whereabouts. But Mr Scahill points out that Human Rights Watch and Reprieve have documented that Kenyan security and intelligence forces have helped in scores of renditions for the US and other governments, including 85 to Somalia in 2007 alone.
Mr Hassan is quoted telling fellow prisoners that he was taken to Wilson Airport where “they put a bag on my head, Guantánamo style.
They tied my hands behind my back and put me on a plane. In the early hours, we landed in Mogadishu.
“I have been interrogated so many times by Somali men and white men. Every day new faces show up. They have nothing on me.
“I have never seen a lawyer, never seen an outsider. Only other prisoners, interrogators, guards. Here there is no court or tribunal,” Mr Hassan continues.
Mr Hassan’s Kenyan legal team, preparing to file a suit in a US court, told Mr Scahill: “Hassan’s case suggests that the US may be involved in a decentralised, out-sourced Guantánamo Bay in central Mogadishu.”
“Mr Hassan must be given the opportunity to challenge both his rendition and continued detention,” the Kenyan attorneys add.
“The US must urgently confirm exactly what has been done to Mr Hassan, why he is being held, and when he will be given a fair hearing.”
Ms Gutteridge, who has worked extensively tracking the disappearances of terror suspects in Kenya, was deported from Kenya on May 11.
Mr Hassan is suspected of having close links to Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, a Kenyan of Yemeni descent who was wanted in connection with the 2002 attacks on the Paradise Hotel and on an Israeli aircraft in Mombasa.
Nabhan was killed in 2009 by a US strike force that used helicopters in a daylight raid in southern Somalia.
The existence of the secret prison, where interrogations are carried out by French agents as well as CIA operatives, was confirmed by an unnamed US government official, Mr Scahill says.