Afghanistan veteran Jason Scanes has left his young family and taken leave from his job to stage a protest outside Peter Dutton’s Brisbane electorate office in an effort to save the life of his former interpreter.
See Jason's Facebook Page : "Forsaken Fighters".
The former Army Captain from Maryborough, three hours north of Brisbane, has been pleading with the Minister for Home Affairs for an interview to press his case to save the life of his former interpreter by bringing him to Australia.
Jason says “Hassan” saved his life and that of other Australians in field operations in Afghanistan.
“Hassan” was always told Australia would protect him but he and his family have been abandoned, left in constant danger from the Taliban. Other interpreters have been assassinated by the Taliban for helping Australian soldiers. He is also a target but has been denied a visa because of a language technicality.”
Jason, now CEO of the Maryborough RSL, has been fighting for five years to have “Hassan” brought to Australia, spending thousands of dollars in legal fees and knocking on every door.
In February he managed to get an interview with Veteran Affairs Minister Michael McCormack, now Acting Prime Minister. Nothing transpired. He has taken up his post outside the door of Mr Dutton's office in Gympie Road, Strathpine.
“I am here because it’s also a veteran’s health issue,” he said. “My family life has been suffering because I am frustrated and angered by the way Australia has abandoned this man. I am finding it hard to sleep. His life is in danger because he saved our lives and now they just shrug.”
Wearing his service medals, he intends to stand outside Mr Dutton’s office each day “for as long as it takes”.
“I believe in the Anzac creed of standing by your mates. My mate’s life in in danger and I will do what I can to stand by him.” He has been running a Facebook page, 'Forsaken Fighters', to try to bring attention to the case.
“Hassan’s” application for a visa was denied because he used the wrong term after electing to have his interview conducted in English instead of his native language. A newly arrived assessment officer in the US intelligence took issue with the response “Not yet” to a question as to whether he had every committed a violent act against Australia.
Jason said the inexperienced interviewer failed to understand the nuances of the language where “Not yet” was intended as a “Never” response.