Page last updated at 12:52 GMT, Thursday, 11 June 2009 13:52 UK

Army interpreter loses spy appeal

Daniel James (left)
Daniel James (left) denied that he was spying for Iran

An Army corporal who was the personal interpreter to Britain's top general in Afghanistan has lost an appeal against his 10-year sentence for spying.

Iranian-born Daniel James, 45, from Brighton, was found guilty last November of spying for Iran.

He had sent coded messages to an Iranian military attache in Kabul.

Rejecting James's case, the Lord Chief Justice said the Court of Appeal had reached "a clear conclusion" and the reasons for it would be given later.

Lives at risk

The Territorial Army soldier was working for the head of multi-national forces in Afghanistan, General David Richards, when he was arrested in 2006.

He was caught just two months after making contact with Colonel Mohammad Hossein Heydari, an Iranian military assistant based at Tehran's embassy in Kabul.

At the time of his arrest, James had level one security clearance and intimate knowledge of Gen Richards' daily schedule.

James denied being a spy, but senior intelligence officers believed that if he had not been arrested his actions could ultimately have cost the lives of UK soldiers and even endangered the security of Britain itself.

In one of his coded e-mails, he told the colonel: "I am at your service."

James was found guilty of one count of breaching the Official Secrets Act by communicating information to an enemy.

He was described in court as a flamboyant fantasist who had invited his boss to salsa dance.

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