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Afghan interpreter takes UK government to court

7 May 2015 16:45


An Afghan interpreter who worked for the British army in Afghanistan is taking the British government to court over its alleged unlawful discrimination against foreign interpreters.

Mohammad Rafi Hottak, who fled the war-torn country in 2011 and now lives in the UK, has presented the high court judges with a video which appears to show six men being beheaded by the Taliban.

The men are believed to be “locally-engaged staff” who were employed by the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

Hottak is arguing those who work with international forces in Afghanistan are deemed traitors and “infidel spies” who are constantly threatened with death. Along with a former colleague who also worked with the British army in the country, he is calling for a judicial review of the government’s assistance scheme for foreign interpreters.

The three day hearing in London heard a statement by Mohammad Hottak in which he described the gruesome footage.

He wrote: “I cannot describe how I felt when I watched this video for the first time, even though some time has passed since my friends were killed. It broke my heart.”

“I could not sleep properly and had awful nightmares. I fear for my life here in the UK and I feel terrified for my family back in Afghanistan. This video shows the extreme violence and brutality which interpreters face because of their work for foreign forces.”

Father of three, Mohammad Hottak worked as an on patrol interpreter with British forces before obtaining serious injuries in an explosion in 2007. Nevertheless, he continued working recruiting other interpreters between 2008 and 2009 and finally left the country in 2011.

Hottak faced death threats from the Taliban and was attacked twice before being granted refuge in the UK. The high court judges, Lord Justice Burnett and Mr Justice Irwin heard that both Hottak and his colleague, known only as AL had provided “loyal, important and dangerous service” for the UK armed forces.

The two men say the assistance scheme for foreign interpreters favours some over others and is unfair and unlawful. The say the scheme does not provide assistance to those who left British employment prior to December 2012.

The British Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence are denying the allegations

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