UK government accused of 'abandoning' Brit in Somali jail

UK government accused of 'completely abandoning' British citizen in Somali prison
2 min read
26 July, 2021
A British national, detained for two years in Somalia without charge, claims he has been tortured by Somali authorities and interrogated by US intelligence officers.
Unless UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab intervenes, there is a risk of the British national being sentenced to death by a military court, said the man's lawyer [Getty]

The family of a British citizen detained in Somalia for two years has accused the UK Foreign Office of "completely abandoning" him following allegations of torture by Somali authorities and interrogation by US intelligence officers. 

The unnamed 45-year-old, arrested in Somalia in 2019 and detained without charge since, has claimed he was subjected to "hooding, sensory deprivation and waterboarding at the hands of the Somali authorities" to persuade him to cooperate with the CIA, according to a report by The Guardian. 

Despite requests from UK lawyers and the man's family to the UK Foreign Office for assistance, no help has been provided, it has been claimed.

The man's son said, according to The Guardian: "He is a British citizen and he has had no support from his country. To know that my dad has faced torture, interrogation and violent threats to his life are terrifying and extremely distressing. 

"I have been calling the Foreign Office daily to ask them to help me and I implore them to do everything in their power to please bring my dad back home." 

The UK Foreign Office have known about the man's detention since April 2019 and of the torture allegations since at least last December when his ex-wife contacted them, according to the report. 

Unless UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab intervenes, there is a risk the man will be tried in military court and executed, said lawyer Fahad Ansari.  

Legal documents outlining the case were shared with the UK Foreign Office last week, warning it has until Wednesday to respond to "failures" to act or face a judicial review in the High Court. 

The UK Foreign Office sent a statement to The New Arab, saying: "We have tried a number of times to contact the British national and will continue to do so. The FCDO is also in contact with local authorities, and is providing support to the family." They are not offering further comments at this time. 

The man remains in a cell with 59 others in Mogadishu Central prison, said the report. 

Before his transfer to the central prison, the individual said he was questioned repeatedly by a "white woman" with an American accent named "Roxanne", according to a legal document on the case. 

In between the interrogation, he alleged he was tortured by the Somali authorities.