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‘Years of racism’ from soldiers – former paratroopers sue army

Hani Gue, a black former paratrooper is bringing a discrimination claim against the Ministry of Defence.

After he and a colleague had to endure years of racism in the unit, Hani Gue has started a discrimination tribunal case in central London.

Gue claims that his fellow soldiers decorated the barracks with Nazi flags and pictures of Adolf Hitler.

According to Hani Gue racist language and racial slurs were frequently used by fellow soldiers in 3 Para. In his statement Gue said that while he was employed by the MoD, he had noticed photographs of Hitler as well as Nazi, SS and Confederate flags displayed in A Company’s housing. This was just a short distance from the battalion’s headquarters.

Gue had walked past these displays regularly and had noticed that he had seen the pictures and flags several times. It was not something which had just happened once.

Both Hani Gue and a South African Lance Corporal Nkululeko Zulu have started proceedings against the MoD alleging that they suffered racial discrimination and harassment. They further claim that no reasonable steps were taken to prevent incidents from happening.

This tribunal hearing is the latest in a series of controversial issues which have included 3 Para. In April this year four members of the battalion were seen at a target range in Kabul. They were shooting wax bullets at a picture of Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn. It was only when the video was leaked online that an investigation was begun.

A similar investigation was started last Autumn after far-right activist Tommy Robinson had posted a video of himself on Facebook. He was seen to be surrounded by a group of 3 Para trainees who could be heard cheering and shouting out his name.

When queried about racial slurs Gue stated that colleagues would often use words such as ‘non swimmers’ to describe black people. Gue added that all the racial slurs were passed off as banter although he found them offensive and intimidating.

Gue added that often the doors of himself and a white South African colleague were urinated on and beer bottles smashed against them. They would have racist slurs written on them at night which Gue cleaned off in the mornings.

Hani Gue joined the army in 2012 and was then deployed with 3 Para to Kenya in 2017. On arrival he was told during the welcome that troops should not behave badly otherwise they would ‘go to prison and get aids.’

The tribunal was told that while the troops were in Kenya the soldiers called local children begging for food by very derogatory names. Both Gue and Zulu claimed that after they had alerted the Army about the racism remarks, there was an alleged cover up by some senior officials.

Gue stated that he had wanted to join the Parachute Regiment after learning about their history of fighting the racist Nazi regime during the second world war. He had been inspired by their actions. Unfortunately, during his employment he had found that the army was not the honourable institution he had first thought it to be.

When Gue was questioned by his Platoon Commander as to why he had moved to a different section, he stated that he had told him some things but did not want to take the matter further because he feared the repercussions. Gue also felt that as a Private it was not his place to report harassment he received from higher ranked soldiers.

The experience had affected him so badly that he made the decision to change his surname from Gue-Hassan to Gue because Hassan is Muslim, and this may have made him more prone to racial abuse.

Gue requested early termination on January 18, 2018 when he arrived back in the UK. On receiving his termination confirmation Gue noted that nowhere did the letter state the reasons for his terminations, which reinforced his thought that the Army would not actively do anything to address his concerns or even to take the matter seriously.

A spokesperson for the MoD stated that all their personal should be able to work in environments which are free from discrimination, harassment and intimidation. The army takes all the complaints very seriously. It is their ethic that anyone exhibiting extreme views should not be permitted to serve.

The hearing continues.

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