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Uthman
09-27-2009, 07:12 PM
A Muslim soldier is suing the Ministry of Defence over claims he was bullied and suffered racial discrimination whilst on active service with an SAS unit in Afghanistan.

The British-born soldier, who is of Pakistani origin, said he was physically attacked and verbally abused by other serving soldiers in the unit over two months during a tour of Afghanistan in 2007.

A complaint lodged at employment tribunal said the alleged discrimination was racist, and continued when the soldier, who cannot be named for legal reasons and is known only as AB, returned to Britain.

He also claims that the authorities failed to properly look into his case.

The tribunal, due to start on Monday in Kingsway, central London, was ordered to be heard in private in the interests of national security.

The soldier appealed against the decision, but lost.

In the judgment to his appeal in July, Mr Justice Underhill said: "The claimant is a member of the armed forces. He is of Asian ethnic origin.

"He has brought proceedings against the Secretary of State for Defence claiming that he had been subjected to racial discrimination, including victimisation and harassment.

"While he was on active service overseas, as a member of a specialist unit, over a period of two months in early 2007 he was subjected to bullying, both in the form of physical assaults and offensive remarks, from fellow servicemen, which he claims was on racial grounds.

"He complains of inadequacies in the way that his subsequent complaints of ill-treatment were dealt with following his return to this country in mid 2007."

The five-day employment tribunal is expected to take place behind closed doors to protect the sensitive work of the soldiers involved in the case.

Almost all the witnesses are either former or active members of the special forces.

Summarising the MoD's argument in his judgment, Mr Justice Underhill said: "The nature of the work on which the claimant was engaged was very sensitive and that disclosure either of the nature of the work itself or in any event the modus operandi of the unit would be highly prejudicial to the effectiveness of that work, such that it might have to be abandoned altogether; and thus that disclosure would create a real risk to the lives of either the servicemen doing the work or of the others whose safety it was intended to promote."

But he added: "There is a public interest in exposing how complaints of discrimination in the armed forces are handled, even if the details of the particular incident cannot be addressed in a public hearing."

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Uthman
09-27-2009, 07:17 PM
Muslim abused by RAF officers, tribunal hears

Thursday 10 September 2009 21.38 BST

A Muslim RAF medic was called a "terrorist" and "Paki" and was assaulted by superior officers while on duty in Afghanistan, a tribunal heard today.

A sergeant also grabbed the medical officer by the throat in front of colleagues in a racially motivated attack, the employment tribunal in London was told, and the armed forces' failure to properly investigate the 2007 incident amounted to a further instance of racial discrimination.

Details of the alleged abuse suffered by the man, known only as AB, can now be reported after a judge partially lifted restrictions relating to some witnesses.

During cross-examination Warrant Officer Nicolas Harper of the RAF's equal opportunities investigation team (EOIT) accepted the alleged abuse was of a "particularly serious nature" deserving of an "expeditious resolution".

Details of the Afghanistan incident were heard in private but it is understood it took place in Helmand province in 2007 where AB was posted with a specialist unit.

British-born AB, who is of Pakistani origin, returned to RAF Northolt in northwest London and was signed off as sick shortly after. He launched a formal complaint in August 2007.

Jude Bunting, representing AB, told the court there were claims against two people in particular, one of whom was the commanding officer of the unit in question, and the claims were of a verbal and physical nature.

He said AB had been called a terrorist, Paki and grabbed by the throat.The EOIT initially investigated the case and then passed it on to the Specialist Investigation Branch for possible criminal proceedings. In summer 2008, some 10 months after the initial complaint, Harper said he inquired about the progress of the SIB investigation only to be told that a report was still in preparation.

He was then sent on a posting to the Falkland Islands returning in March this year. In February this year the SIB ruled that there was insufficient evidence to proceed with any court martial.

The OEIT again took over the investigation, which is now expected to finish interviewing witnesses next month.

The tribunal heard that investigations should normally be completed within six weeks. Harper said the delays were due to difficulties in tracking down more than a dozen witnesses, some of whom were only known by their nicknames. Others had now left the military.

He said the OEIT investigation was halted while the CIB inquiry was under way.

Bunting told the court that the medic had suffered bad dreams every night and increased anger towards the military due to its inability to complete the investigation. "You failed to investigate the case with reasonable dispatch," he suggested to Harper. "You failed to keep AB informed. You simply wanted to cover it up."

Harper denied that was the case adding that he volunteered to work in the investigations unit because he "felt strongly about these issues in the military".

The case was adjourned until tomorrow when representatives of AB and the Ministry of Defence are expected to make closing arguments, once again in secret.

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Ummu Sufyaan
09-28-2009, 12:45 PM
what the heck he was doing serving with the British army to begin with, is quite beyond me...
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