British soldier in Afghanistan charged with spying for Iran

October 14th, 2008 - 5:05 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Oct 14 (IANS) An Iranian-born British soldier who was working as an interpreter for the NATO commander in Afghanistan had been spying for Iran after he felt he was being discriminated against on racial ground, a British court has been told.Corporal Daniel James, 45, has been accused of passing on information to an officer at the Iranian embassy in Kabul while working for General Sir David Richards in Afghanistan, the Independent newspaper reported Tuesday.

Prosecutor Mark Dennis told the Old Bailey court that James, who had been serving the army for 18 years, switched loyalty in the latter part of 2006, “aggrieved and bitter” at his treatment by the military.

“He began to complain to others about what he perceived as discrimination against him in the army - linking racist attitudes to his lack of promotion,” Dennis said.

James, born Esmail Mohammed Beigi Gamasai in Tehran, was passing on secret information to an Iranian military assistant, Col. Mohammed Hossein Heydari, who he might have met during a visit to Tehran’s embassy in Kabul working for General Richards, head of Nato’s international Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) between July 2006 and February 2007, the prosecution said.

After the authorities traced his confidential exchanges with Heydari, James was arrested Dec 18, 2006 at Oxfordshire.

According to the newspaper, James has been charged under the Official Secrets Act and also with the offence of wilful misconduct in public office. He has denied the charges.

James came to Britain in his childhood and became a British citizen in 1986, keeping his Iranian passport as a dual national. He joined the British Army a year later and in 1997 changed his name.

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