Falsely condemned to an Afghanistan jail, threatened by Taliban fanatics, the nightmare of British army major Bill Shaw
by Tom Parry The Daily Mirror UK June 15, 2011
Bill, 53, had served everywhere from Northern Ireland to Iraq during 28 years in the Royal Military Police but nothing could prepare him for being incarcerated in a hellish Afghan jail.
He languished in the vermin-infested prison, an innocent victim of corruption charges trumped up by local officials.
A year on the experience is still raw and he makes sure Liz, 52, his partner of 34 years, is not in earshot before he speaks.
His voice shakes with emotion as he says: “I remember precisely how I felt when I was told they were actually going to send me down. I wasn’t expecting it. I was shocked, stunned. Everyone was shocked. It was totally unfounded. I was being accused of being a criminal.”
Bill, originally from Salford, had believed the whole mess would have been sorted out. “I went back to the cell. The most upsetting thing was that I couldn’t communicate with my family. It was so hard.
“The Afghans I was with had told me the judge might double my sentence just for appealing.”
Grandad Bill was working for a private security contractor guarding the British Embassy in Kabul, the Afghan capital, when two of his staff had their armoured 4×4 vehicle impounded at a roadblock on a lawless highway, nicknamed Route Violent.
Afghan agents at the checkpoint claimed it lacked the proper documents but when Bill arrived his vehicle was also confiscated. Bill, awarded an MBE for services to the armed forces, was told he would have to pay a security “official” nearly £20,000 to get them back.
It turned out to be little more than an illegal bribe but worse was to come.
Police claimed Bill was tangled up in the corrupt scam and the dad of two was remanded in a Kabul jail on charges neither he, his colleagues nor his family could understand.
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