Taliban bodyguard wins human rights claim to stay in Britain

A file picture of Sarpoza jail in Kandahar, Afghanistan
A file picture of Sarpoza jail in Kandahar, Afghanistan  Photo: Reuters
David Barrett
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A Taliban henchman who was accused of murder in Afghanistan has been allowed to stay in Britain on human rights grounds.

The 32-year-old Afghan, known only by the initials SAKA after his name was kept secret by the courts, claimed he spent four years in jail in Kandahar after being accused of killing a provincial governor’s son.

He escaped from jail and went into hiding, but eventually fled the country and made his way to Britain.

He claimed asylum but his case was rejected by Theresa May, the Home Secretary.

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Now the immigration courts have overturned her decision and allowed SAKA to stay in this country – potentially indefinitely – because he was entitled to asylum and protection under the European Convention on Human Rights.

SAKA claimed his father had been forced to join the Taliban as a commander and was in charge of 65 men.

SAKA claimed he agreed to work as a Taliban bodyguard because he was concerned about his father’s safety.

“During his time with the Taliban he saw a leader … behead a man because he believed him to be a spy. After this incident his father decided to leave the Taliban,” said court papers in the case.

“Whilst crossing the desert the appellant and his father were arrested and placed in detention.

“The appellant was accused of killing MK, the son of the governor of Herat.

“The appellant claims he then spent four years in Sarpoza prison in Kandahar and was never formally convicted or tried.

“He claimed he was tortured and his head was covered and he was beaten.”

The papers went on: “He managed to escape from the prison and went with a fellow Taliban member to his home in Kunduz where he remained with him for six months in hiding.”

It was not disclosed how or when SAKA arrived in this country.

The Immigration Tribunal papers showed that the Home Secretary considered whether SAKA should be excluded from protection in line with the Geneva Convention and whether his presence in Britain “constituted a danger to the community”.

In a hearing the Home Office conceded that SAKA was a “low level member of the Taliban”.

“The case had been placed before the war crimes tribunal and they had chosen not to take the matter further,” court papers showed.

Deputy Upper tribunal Judge Helen Rimington, sitting in the Upper Tribunal of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber, ruled that if SAKA were deported the Taliban “might also be informed of his return”.

He would also be at risk from the current Afghan government on the basis of his former membership of the Taliban, she said.

There was also evidence that he had suffered torture in the Sarpoza prison, she added.

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“I find that the appellant would be … at risk from the government on the basis of his perceived connection with the Taliban albeit that his account that he had left and was a bodyguard was accepted,” the judge wrote in her ruling on the case.

SAKA was granted permission to remain in Britain on asylum grounds and under Article 3 of the Convention, which prohibits torture and inhuman or degrading treatment.

Source : telegraph[dot]co[dot]uk
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