An Afghan military interpreter denied refuge in the UK has been killed
The lawyer for two former military interpreters who worked for the British Army in Afghanistan has reacted to the news that a former interpreter is reported to have been tortured and murdered in Iran.
Human rights solicitor Rosa Curling is challenging the Intimidation and Redundancy Policies in place for Afghan interpreters at the Court of Appeal, as the eligibility criteria, assessment processes and assistance available differ considerably from the policy that was in place for interpreters who worked for British Forces in Iraq.
The former head of the Armed Forces, General Sir David Richards, together with the head of the Defence Select Committee, Julian Lewis, have called on the Government to “urgently” offer sanctuary to Afghan interpreters.
Mr Lewis said: "Everybody knows that in Afghanistan even the slightest suspicion or allegation that Afghans have helped Western forces amounts in effect to a death sentence.”
One of Leigh Day’s clients, “AL”, worked for British Armed Forces for five years in Afghanistan. He has received numerous threats and remains in Afghanistan fearing for his life. Many interpreters have reported death threats from the Taliban, and some have been physically attacked.
A Redundancy scheme set up by the Government in 2012 applies only to interpreters who served on the front line in Helmand province for at least a year, and who were still working on 19th December 2012, the date the drawdown of troops was announced.
The Intimidation Policy is designed to protect those interpreters facing threats and physical attacks because of their work for British Forces. However, according to government figures only a handful have received assistance with relocating within Afghanistan and only one has been granted assistance in relocating to the UK through the scheme.
Human rights solicitor at Leigh Day, Rosa Curling remains concerned that many interpreters are being excluded from the schemes, including those in constant fear for their lives because of the work they did for British Forces.
Rosa Curling, said:
“The tragic death of the former interpreter emphasises again why the government must take immediate steps to put a proper scheme in place to allow interpreters who have worked for British soldiers sanctuary in the UK.”