It was in June 2006 when he was preparing to travel to Pakistan from London’s Heathrow airport that Fahad Hashmi was stopped by a British police officer at passport control and escorted to a private room by law enforcement personnel. He was told he was being arrested for extradition to America.
Fahad was detained in the general population of Belmarsh high-security prison for over eleven months, before he became the first person extradited from Britain to the US under the more relaxed arrangements agreed in the US–UK Extradition Treaty of 2003.
Upon arrival in New York, he was taken directly to the Southern District Court in downtown Manhattan, refused bail on the grounds of the terrorism charges he faced, which were providing and conspiring to provide material support to al-Qaeda as well as making and conspiring to make a contribution of goods and services to al-Qaeda, and incarcerated in solitary confinement in Manhattan Correctional Center.
After graduating from Brooklyn College, Fahad had moved to London to study for a master’s degree at London Metropolitan University. During this period, he was visited by an acquaintance, Junaid Babar, an association which would prove critical to Fahad’s subsequent arrest. Among Junaid’s luggage there had been ponchos and socks, which the authorities later classed as ‘military training gear’ which they argued Junaid went on to deliver to al-Qaeda members in Pakistan. During Junaid’s stay, Fahad had also used Junaid’s cell phone. Fahad’s association with Junaid in these two ways – allowing Junaid to stay in his apartment with the ponchos and socks, and using Junaid’s phone – formed the basis of his indictment for charges of material support for terrorism.
Post extradition, Fahad was held in solitary confinement for three years pre-trial. Shortly following his detention in New York he was placed under Special Administrative Measures which further restricted his ability to communicate with the outside world. Under Fahad’s cell was electronically monitored and he was not allowed to communicate with other inmate through cell walls, he was allowed contact only with his lawyer and in very limited ways with his family. Much of the evidence in the case was classified and so he was not allowed to review it.