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Translator abandoned by UK is executed as he tries to flee Taliban

Aug 21, 2015 6:00:00 AM / by Katharine Allen & Barry S. Olsen

From The Daily Mail..

Article Excerpt: An Afghan military interpreter denied refuge by Britain has been executed trying to reach the West.Known to the UK soldiers he served with as Popal, he was tortured and murdered after being captured in Iran.

Another four interpreters are feared to have suffered the same fate while using people smugglers to flee the Taliban. Their families believe the missing men may have been killed by the Iranian authorities or by militias. 

‘Anyone they find who has worked for Britain or allied forces is tortured and killed, the smugglers have told us, because they are seen as Western spies,’ said a source who served with British forces alongside Popal. 

‘The smugglers warn us before we begin the journey that there is a good chance we will be captured and that if that happens “you are on your own”.

Link to the full article HERE.

InterpretAmerica's Take: You may have seen that at InterpretAmerica we are currently supporting a Kickstarter campaign for The Interpreter, a short narrative film that seeks to shed light on the plight of interpreters left behind by Western military forces after their withdrawal from Afghanistan and Iraq, many of whom were promised visas for their service.

This article speaks for itself. Even as we push in the US for greater pubic awareness and recognition of the extreme danger these interpreters face, we see that we are not the only country dealing with this issue. Visas were promised and have been slow to materialize in the UK, Australia, Canada and other countries.

For us, this issue is urgent. These interpreters exercised the profession in service to our armed forces. Consequently, they are our colleagues, even if they are never called upon again to interpret another word. The fact that any interpreter could be tortured or killed for facilitating communication in a conflict zone is a threat to our entire profession. which resides in that ever shifting area where languages and cultures meet and sometimes collide.These interpreters helped save untold lives in their efforts to act as linguistic and cultural bridges for the armed forces of numerous Western nations. And they deserve better. Supporting this film project is something we all CAN do to help make a difference. By bringing greater public awareness to this issue we can encourage our elected officials to finish a job left incomplete after the withdrawal of Western forces from Afghanistan and Iraq.

Read our recent blog post where we interview Robert Ham, the decorated combat videographer and two-time Emmy-award-winning director behind the project. Then please, donate to the Kickstarter campaign. The interpreting community has already helped raise over $6,000.00 for the project. With your help we can raise even more and help reach the goal of $20,000.00 by August 28, 2015. Any amount helps. If you can't contribute, please help by spreading the word.


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