Army interpreter in court on spy charge

AN ARMY interpreter is to stand trial next month accused of passing secret information to Iran.

Corporal Daniel James, 44, from Brighton in West Sussex, is charged with an offence under the Official Secrets Act.

It is alleged that, on 2 November, he "communicated to another person information calculated to be, or that might be, or intended to be, directly or indirectly useful to the enemy".

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Corporal James was an interpreter for General David Richards, British commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan.

The 44-year-old is said to speak fluent Pashtun, the main language in Afghanistan.

He is thought to have arrived in Britain from Iran when he was 17, following the overthrow of the Shah. He became a British citizen in 1986 and changed his name ten years ago.

James appeared in private at the City of Westminster Magistrates' Court yesterday. Timothy Workman, the Senior District Judge, refused bail and said a preliminary hearing will take place at the Old Bailey on 12 January.

As he was being led from the dock, James said to the court: "Not guilty. This is the way the Army has repaid me."

Outside the court, James's solicitor, David Martin, insisted his client was innocent.

He said: "He served with the British Army for almost 20 years in any way that he has been called to do so, irrespective of religious or political considerations and he's been proud to do so.

"He's distressed by the false allegation apparently being made by the very people he served so loyally.

"He's looking forward to answering the allegation made and clearing his name, as he's absolutely confident he will do."