Daniel James (British Army soldier)

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Daniel James
Birth nameEsmail Mohammed Beigi Gamasai
Born1962 (age 56–57)
Tehran, Iran
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchBritish Army
Years of service1988–2006
UnitPrincess of Wales' Royal Regiment
Battles/warsAfghanistan Campaign

Daniel James (born Esmail Mohammed Beigi Gamasai,[1] in 1962), is a former British Army corporal who was found guilty of a violation of the Official Secrets Act 1911 for attempting to pass information to Iran.

James was formerly the interpreter and sometimes driver for British Army Lieutenant-General Sir David Richards, who commanded the NATO forces in Afghanistan.[2] James speaks fluent Pashtun and Persian. He attempted to have pass information to Iran about British activities in Helmand Province.

Life in Brighton[edit]

Danny used to run the Club New York (a salsa and hip-hop club) in Brighton opposite Churchill Square. He would teach salsa at this club.[3]

Arrest and Appearance[edit]

James' charges were read in the City of Westminster Magistrates' Court in London and was charged under Section 1 of the Official Secrets Act 1911. Action was taken very quickly, so that the then Attorney-General, Lord Goldsmith, had not approved the prosecution before James was told of the charge. The full charge read on court on 2 November 2006 was that he was charged for a "purpose prejudicial to the safety of the State and that he "communicated to be directly or indirectly useful to the enemy." He was tried before Senior District Judge Timothy Workman.[4]

In November 2008 he was found guilty by a jury of spying for Iran on a charge of 'communicating information useful to an enemy',[5] and sentenced to ten years imprisonment.[6] The jury failed to agree verdicts on two other charges relating to his possession of sensitive documents on a USB memory stick, and of misconduct in a public office, and these charges were left on the table.


  1. ^ [1][dead link]
  2. ^ "News". 15 March 2016 – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  3. ^ Norton-Taylor, Richard; Williams, Rachel (2008-11-06). "Daniel James: from salsa king to military spy". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-07-21.
  4. ^ "The Times & The Sunday Times". www.thetimes.co.uk.
  5. ^ "Army interpreter guilty of spying". 5 November 2008 – via news.bbc.co.uk.
  6. ^ "Army spy is jailed for 10 years". 28 November 2008 – via news.bbc.co.uk.