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Federal Court dismisses Afghan interpreter’s protection visa claim

Source: AAP/Department of Defence

The Federal Court has dismissed an Afghan interpreter’s appeal against a decision by the Home Affairs Department to deny him a resettlement visa in Australia.

The interpreter known by the pseudonym Hassan was denied a protection visa on character grounds by the Department of Home Affairs, but had hoped to overturn the decision. 

His appeal was dismissed by the Federal Court of Australia in Sydney late last week.

His lawyers said they were considering appealing the court’s decision.

"The application was dismissed,” solicitor Christian Hearn said in a statement. “The legal team is closely considering the decision and an appeal is being actively considered.”

The Law Courts Building in Sydney's CBD

Hassan’s case was heard by the Federal Court in Sydney in March after was denied a protection visa despite having references from senior Australian Army officials.

Retired Army Capitan Jason Scanes, whom Hassan worked for in Afghanistan, was among those who provided references for him.

Capitan Scanes said his interpreter’s failure to pass a character test was probably because of a language barrier.

"My interpreter was asked had he committed any offences against coalition forces and his response was 'no not yet'," he told SBS News in March.

"And when they asked to clarify, he said 'no I don't do that, I work for coalition forces'."

His legal team believed one of the reasons he failed character test was based on the assumption he had links to the Taliban.

In March, his lawyers told the court their client "resists any notion he supports or has an association with the insurgency and his work with Australian troops demonstrates his loyalty.”

Since 2012, more than 900 Afghans employed as part of Australia’s mission in Afghanistan, along with their families, have been resettled.