Derby

British Army interpreter injured in war faces UK deportation

Hafizullah Husseinkhel
Image caption Hafizullah Husseinkhel wants to stay in the UK because he speaks English and worked with English people in the army

An interpreter who was blinded in one eye in a bomb attack while working with the British Army in Afghanistan fears he could be deported from the UK.

Mr Husseinkhel, 26, has been living in Derby as an asylum seeker since last year after fleeing war-torn Helmand province in 2014.

He now faces deportation to Austria, the first "safe" country he arrived in.

The Home Office said it aimed to return asylum seekers to the European country that was "responsible" for them.

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Mr Husseinkhel worked on the front line in Helmand province translating between British troops and the Afghan army, police and civilians.

He was an interpreter between 2008 and 2012, until he was blown up in a bomb attack and was blinded in his right eye.

Mr Husseinkhel received a death threat letter because of his work, leading him to flee in 2014.

'Fought for UK'

His application for asylum in the UK has been rejected and he now has until 26 June to find a solicitor to take on his case.

If he can get legal representation, a Home Office judicial review will take place. Without a solicitor he faces immediate deportation.

Mr Husseinkhel, who speaks four languages and has glowing references from the army, said it was "unbelievable" that he fought for the UK, but faces being thrown out.

"We put our life at risk and today can't even get help," he said.

Modest home

"I have worked with them at very hard moments... through bomb threats and enemy threats. I was working shoulder-to-shoulder with British forces."

As an asylum seeker Mr Husseinkhel has not been able to work, but volunteers at Derby Refugee Advice Centre. He lives in modest accommodation and has a £36-a week government allowance.

A Home Office spokesman said: "The UK has a proud history of providing protection to those who need it, but it is only fair that we do not shoulder the burden of asylum claims that should rightly be considered by other countries.

"Asylum seekers should claim in the first safe country they arrive in. Where there is evidence that an asylum seeker is the responsibility of another European country we will seek to return them there."

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