Former Afghan interpreters to learn of High Court ruling on assistance scheme


Two former interpreters who risked their lives working for British forces in Afghanistan will today learn the result of their challenge to a High Court ruling that the Government assistance scheme open to them is lawful.

The two Afghans claim that the current scheme is unfair and unlawful because, with certain exceptions, assistance is not available to staff who left British employment before December 2012.

They say they are being discriminated against and treated differently to Iraqi interpreters, who were all given assistance when their lives became endangered through assisting the British in the Iraq war.

They want the Afghan scheme to cover ''locally engaged staff'' employed by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in Afghanistan before the 2012 cut-off date.

In July last year, the High Court ruled that the ''territorial reach'' of the Equality Act 2010 was not such ''as to include the claimants' circumstances'' and there was no direct or indirect discrimination on the basis of nationality.

In March, lawyers for a man only referred to as AL - who remains in hiding in Kabul - and Mohammed Rafi Hottak, who has now been granted asylum but still has family in Afghanistan, told the Court of Appeal that both gave ''principled and brave'' service.

Lady Justice Arden, Lord Justice David Richards and Sir Colin Rimer heard that, as a result, they and their families had suffered serious injuries in Taliban attacks and faced threats to their lives.