General

Kenney stands by decision to reject Afghan intepreter

Sayed Shah Sharifi was denied a visa to Canada

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney defended the government’s decision to deny Afghan interpreter Sayed Shah Sharifi a visa to Canada on Wednesday, saying in a letter sent to the Toronto Star that Sharifi did not meet certain established criteria. The minister’s statement comes after the Star reported that Sharifi, who served Canadian troops as a battlefield interpreter during the war in Afghanistan, was twice denied a visa to immigrate to Canada. “The program I established was designed to help those who face specific, individualized threats to their lives as a direct result of having worked with Canadian troops as translators,” Kenney wrote. Sharifi, the letter noted, simply couldn’t convince immigration officials that he faced such threats. Star columnist Paul Watson, however, retorted in a column on Thursday that, “I’ve been reporting from Afghanistan since 1996, and have interviewed Taliban commanders and fighters numerous times, most recently in January 2009. I have never met a Talib, and I don’t know of any expert on Afghanistan, who would say the insurgents aren’t hunting for people like Sharifi.”

The Toronto Star

The Toronto Star

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