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Former Iraqi interpreters continue with their claims against the British Government

Iraqi interpreter case continues in High Court in London

Map of Iraq: istock

4 February 2011

40 Iraqi former interpreters working with the British forces in Iraq have today taken their claims forward in the English High Court.

They argue that they were not adequately protected by their British government employers, leaving them vulnerable to attack and persecution by anti-coalition militia on the ground.  Their vulnerability often outlasted their contracts and the tours of duty of the soldiers to whom they provided invaluable support.

In eight cases, claims are being brought by relatives of deceased interpreters who had worked with the British government and were killed in suspected militia attacks, believed to be a direct consequence of their work.

A first set of claims was issued in the English High Court in March 2009. Following the notification of further claims, a Group Litigation Order was approved by the President of the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court in November 2010, enabling the group action to proceed.

The British government Defendants (the Ministry of Defence, Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Department for International Development) assert that they did do enough to protect their local workers and that the extent of the hostility their local workforce would face was not foreseeable at the outset of the conflict.

Our clients, however, cite countless examples of their security concerns apparently being ignored by their British colleagues and of written policies not being put into practice.

Although almost half of the Claimants are now in the UK, they reached here after months to years of living in hiding and destitution, having fled their homes and after the government eventually allowed them to immigrate under the UK’s Gateway refugee scheme.  Many of the Claimants have been found to be suffering from on-going psychiatric damage as a result of their experiences.

Leigh Day & Co partner, Sapna Malik, who represents the Claimants comments, “This is a tragic case of the British government doing too little too late to protect a vital part of its workforce. Disturbingly, the disclosure so far received from the government also indicates that when policies were eventually drafted, they appeared to be more an attempt to stem the inconvenient flow of fleeing local staff by placating fears, rather than a concerted effort to provide a comprehensive package of measures to minimise the risks they faced.”

Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.


Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.

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