Suspected Sierra Leone ‘war criminal’ working as driving instructor in Crosland Moor

HE has been accused of a list of horrific war crimes.

HE has been accused of a list of horrific war crimes.

But former refugee Joseph Lissa, of Crosland Moor, has branded stories about his involvement in a series of atrocities in his homeland of Sierra Leone as ‘totally false’.

Lissa, a driving instructor, is accused of being a member of his former country’s Revolutionary United Front (RUF).

The RUF, which fought to overthrow the Sierra Leone government in the 1990s, was infamous for its bloodthirsty tactics including the mass murder and rape of entire villages.

It is claimed that Lissa was a sergeant in the RUF.

But after several appeals a top judge allowed Lissa to remain in the UK.

Lord Bannatyne said the Home Office’s delay in deporting him had reduced the grounds for returning him to Sierra Leone.

The Home Office believed there were serious grounds to believe Lissa had ‘voluntarily participated in killings and rape’.

But Lissa, 31, was able to assemble another case against the Home Office’s decision to deport him after he married a British citizen and fathered a child in Huddersfield.

It is said Lissa admitted taking part in the RUF’s infamous ‘Operation No Living Thing’ but said he was coerced into joining the rebel army, aged 17.

But when the Examiner contacted Lissa he said the stories were ‘totally false’.

“The story is not true,’’ he said. “It is totally fabricated.

“I came here as a refugee. I went through the court process. I have all the documents.

“The story is not true at all. It is totally false.”

Alan Brooke, of KRAFT (Kirklees Refugees and Friends Together), said all refugee claims should be decided on a case-by-case basis, not by ‘simplistic media campaigns’.

Mr Brooke said: “His case appears to be that he was a child soldier.

“If so it should be seen in the context of the situation – whether he was coerced, ‘brainwashed’ or generally morally and legally culpable for any atrocities he was involved in.

“I don’t believe that people should be excluded from asylum because of membership of an armed group ipso facto.

“On the other hand, I don’t believe that people should have the protection of human rights legislation who have abused the human rights of others.”

 
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