Britiske innvandringsmyndigheter sier nei til at rundt 100 irakere som har assistert britene i Basra skal få asyl. Offiserer og soldater er opprørt. Irakerne har gjort jobben med livet som innsats, og er i livsfare når britene trekker seg ut.
Outraged reaction erupted from serving military officers, retired generals and politicians today after the revelation in The Times that nearly 100 Iraqi interpreters who have risked their lives working for the British in Basra may be abandoned to their fate when the troops are withdrawn.
One Territorial Army officer who served in Basra in 2003/2004 told The Times that his interpreter was visited by militia who held a gun to the head of his wife and children.
They threatened to kill him and his family if he did not leave the country in three days.
«Yet when I took up his case with the Home Office, he was immediately turned down for refugee status,» Major Andrew Alderson of the TA’s Queen’s Own Yeomanry said.
The 39-year-old officer, who is a director at Lazard bankers, used the interpeter as his «eyes and ears» when he was given the job of trying to restructure the economy of southern Iraq. «He was invaluable to me and took great personal risks, and these sort of people need our protection,» he said.
He fought his case and even appeared on an asylum tribunal in support of him, eventually winning the argument for him to stay in Britain.
«But it was a real struggle. The people on the tribunal didn’t seem to know what was going on in southern Iraq, they didn’t realise that Basra is now as dangerous as it is in Baghdad,» Major Alderson said.
The interpreter, «Mr Ali», now living in Britain, told The Times: «Anyone who works for the Americans or the British in Iraq gets a visit from the militia and is told to leave the country or face assassination. I had to leave immediately and left everything behind.»
Major Alderson said another of his interpreters, a woman, was shot three times, and eventually gained asylum in Australia.
This morning, The Times disclosed that the Government had ignored personal appeals from senior Army officers in Basra to relax asylum regulations and make special arrangements for 91 Iraqi interpreters whose loyal services have put their lives at risk.