Theresa May initially rejected an application for the 32-year-old Taliban henchman to stay in the UK, but her decision was overturned by immigration judges
A Taliban henchman suspected of murder in Afghanistan has won the right to stay in Britain on human rights grounds.
The 32-year-old, known only by the initials SAKA, admitted that his father was in charge of 65 Taliban troops, but claimed he only agreed to join the terrorist group because he was worried about his safety.
He also claimed he had been tortured during four years in jail in Kandahar after being accused of killing a provincial governor’s son.
The bodyguard escaped from prison and went into hiding, but claimed that he fled to Britain after Taliban fighters tried to track him down.
The Afghan, whose identity has been kept secret by the courts, had an initial claim for sanctuary rejected by Home Secretary Theresa May.
But in a controversial move, immigration judges have now thrown out her decision and given SAKA permission to stay because he was entitled to asylum and protection under human rights laws.
It was ruled that deporting him to Afghanistan would breach Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits torture and inhuman or degrading treatment.
Experts said he would be ‘at risk of mistreatment and physical harm if he were arrested on account of being a suspected Taliban’.
Court papers said: ‘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.
‘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.’
SAKA claimed he escaped from the prison and travelled with a Taliban member to his home in Kunduz. He said his father had been shot dead trying to flee the jail. At some point he arrived in the UK.
The Home Office considered whether he had actually been convicted of murder and whether his presence in Britain ‘constituted a danger to the community’.
Hearing the case in the Upper Tribunal of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber, Judge Helen Rimington ruled that if SAKA were sent home the Taliban ‘might also be informed of his return’
Lawyers for the department accepted he was a ‘low level member of the Taliban’.
Hearing the case in the Upper Tribunal of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber, Judge Helen Rimington ruled that if SAKA were sent home 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.
Last night, a former British commander criticised the judgement and demanded a shake-up of human rights legislation so it could not be exploited by former insurgents.
Colonel Richard Kemp, who led UK forces in Afghanistan, said: ‘Our blind adherence to European human rights legislation sees British soldiers who risk their lives to defend us hounded through the courts while this enemy fighter is allowed to stay here to threaten our country.
‘Our security at home already has enough challenges from experienced jihadists returning from Syria without our own courts wantonly adding to our problems in this way.
‘This case underlines the urgent need to change the law to prevent such dangerous absurdities.’