British longest serving Afghan military interpreter refused right to live in UK

Translator served alongside the British Army for 16 years is refused entry to UK

May Bulman
Social Affairs Correspondent
Friday 19 January 2018 21:07 GMT
Senior officers expressed anger over the Governmen'ts decision to deny two former Afghan interpreters the right to live in the UK
Senior officers expressed anger over the Governmen'ts decision to deny two former Afghan interpreters the right to live in the UK ( Ben Birchall/PA Archive/PA Images)

Britain’s longest serving Afghan military interpreter has been refused the right to live in the UK, just months after the Home Office prompted fury by detaining and threatening to deport another translator from the region.

The 34-year-old, known as Ricky, reportedly worked for the military in Afghanistan for 16 years, during which he is said to have showed “unfailing loyalty”.

His refused application for sanctuary in the UK has prompted anger from senior British Army officers, who also vehemently opposed the detention and threatened deportation of Hafizzulah Husseinkhel, who served on the front line for the British Army between 2010 and 2012.

His asylum claim was rejected in June and in December, the 26-year-old was handed removal papers and taken to a detention centre at Campsville near Oxford.

He was told he would be removed from the country between 6 and 22 December.

Following an outcry from members of the military who served alongside him and campaign to let him remain in the UK, the High Court ordered he be released from detention and halted his removal.

Now Ricky, who was made redundant in November, has been refused entry to the UK due to the fact that he had not served on the front line in Helmand province, the Daily Mail reported.

Under a Government "relocation scheme", interpreters have to have served in that region to qualify for sanctuary in Britain.

Defence officials say that was where they faced the greatest danger and risked the most.

But Ricky is said to have served on patrols in and around the capital Kabul.

Brigadier Gerhard Wheeler CBE, one of the most senior officers in the country at the time, told the Mail Ricky "risked his life on numerous occasions" to help UK troops and he and his family were "more than deserving of a chance of a life in the UK".

His comments echoed those made by senior officer William Locke, who served with Mr Husseinkhel on the front line in 2011, and said it was “ridiculous” that the Home Office plans to deport ahim when he had “helped save British lives”.

Mr Husseinkhel missed out on the "relocation scheme" because it was available only to staff who were in post on 19 December last year – shortly after he left the post.

A Government spokesperson said: “More than 390 former Afghan staff and their families have been relocated to the UK and we expect to relocate over 40 more and their relatives families.

“We have expert teams in both the UK and in Kabul who ensure that former Afghan staff who feel threatened are properly supported.”

The Home Office repeatedly told The Independent it did not comment on individual cases when approached regarding Mr Husseinkhel's situation.

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