Commonwealth veteran 'denied citizenship after 13 years' service'
23 July 2012
A Fijian soldier who served in the British Army for 13 years is being denied citizenship because he defended himself during a 2010 altercation with a fellow soldier, it has emerged.
Isimeli "Bale" Bailewai, a former Lance Corporal, has served in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia and Northern Ireland during his time in the army but has reportedly fallen foul of changes to rules on citizenship for Commonwealth soldiers
Soldiers from the Commonwealth can normally claim citizenship after four years' service, but Bailewai, who has a British wife and two children, faces an 'automatic' denial due to a disciplinary procedure.
Bailewai was involved in a brawl in 2010 during which another soldier was left with a broken filling, described during a disciplinary hearing as a 'broken jaw'. There were reportedly five witnesses ready to testify that the incident was self-defence, but Bailewai waived the right to legal counsel as he 'just wanted it to go away'. It is his acceptance of his commanding officer's judgment against him that could deny him citizenship.
While the MoD once had the right to exercise discretion on such cases, refusal has been 'automatic' since April 2011
L/Cpl Bailewai, 32, told The Daily Telegraph: "I feel really betrayed and angry at the fact that after 13 years of service I am just a number to the Home Office, in the queue behind Abu Hamza and his cronies"
Dr Hugh Milroy, chief executive of charity Veterans' Aid, said the commonwealth citizenship issues were becoming a "major problem".
"As a nation, we should hang our heads in shame at what is being done to these people," he said.
"It is grossly unfair that despite their service to the country, soldiers are actually worse hit by this than anything else."
HAVE YOUR SAY
23 July 2012
The mistake this soldier made was to think that serving this country for 13 yrs meant anything.
As for the brawl he was involved in,when you get trained,fit men in close proximity,then disagreements are bound to happen and fights will occur.It is a part of service life,whether you like it or not.
Now is he had been a convicted rapist,murderer or terrorist,then he would be able to claim under the human right act and stay in this country. Scum like Abu Hamza a declared enemy of this country who has already cost us tens of thousands of pounds still lives off our benifits society,and the government is still unable to get rid of him
The people who made this decision should hang their heads in shame. No doubt the Army isn't too bothered either as their numbers are being cut,and they would be happy to see less Commonwealth citizens in our armed forces,and this will certainly make these people think twice.
His case should also be backed up by the British Legion,whom we fund by donations to help our armed forces of whatever nationality. Lets hear them speak out against this ruling,which is in a word 'Shamefull'
michael - notts
23 July 2012
Serve this country - get kicked in the b***s for it
Bomb it and stay here forever..
Something very very wrong here
JC - UK