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.
- Telegraph - Muslim SAS soldier sues MoD for racial discrimination
- BAFF member service - Employment Tribunal claims by armed forces personnel
By Lucy Cockcroft
Published: 5:39PM BST 06 Sep 2009
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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