Sex attacker jailed for assault now working with vulnerable women escaping abuse
A sex attacker who was jailed for four years after he was caught on CCTV attempting to rape a woman is being allowed to work with vulnerable women escaping sexual abuse.
Misrak Eyob was jailed in 2009 after tried to rape a 35-year-old woman in Royston, Glasgow but now works as a freelance interpreter for a prominent firm of Glasgow immigration lawyers.
The convicted attacker works with, amongst others, teenage women seeking asylum who have fled Eritrea to avoid forced conscription to national service where they suffer systematic rape.
Despite claiming during his original trial for the sex attack that ‘Satan created the situation’, Eyob can now be seen greeting asylum seekers outside Katani and Co before ushering them in to the building in Cadogan Street, Glasgow.
One young Eritrean girl, who asked not to be named, said: “I know Misrak Eyob. He is working at Katani and Co. He was in there today.”
Eyob was observed coming in and out of the offices of ¬Katani and Co several times over two days.
He could often be seen smoking outside, meeting clients before taking them up to the lawyer’s office.
When approached and asked whether he can offer interpretation services for an Eritrean, he confirmed he is an interpreter for clients of Katani and Co.
The Scottish Legal Aid Board pays up to £30 per hour for interpreters and a whopping £95 per 1000 words for translating documents.
The board also pay lawyers to represent clients and Katani and Co raked in more than half a million pounds from the public body last year.
Immigration lawyer Neil Barnes, who also works with Eritrean asylum seekers, said he was concerned that someone who was convicted of attempted rape was being used as an interpreter for vulnerable women.
He said: “The office is all young female solicitors and you think to yourself that it’s a bit risky.
“The clients are also extremely vulnerable. A lot of them are young women who are fleeing to avoid military service because if they go into military service they tend to get raped.”
Mr Barnes’ Eritrean interpreter Agostino Desta, 59, has been living and working in Glasgow for more than 20 years.
He said: “These girls are trying to escape national service. They are taken when they are between 16 and 18-years-old. You have to go and there’s no way out. So they are fleeing to Sudan, Ethiopia or across the sea. Every one of them is a victim.
“Some of them are kidnapped at the border and sold as slaves at £3000 for a person – or they call the family and demand £10,000 or £20,000 to get them back. Sometimes, if they don’t pay the money, they sell their organs.
“Some of the ones that escape get as far as Calais and are smuggled across the border in lorries then later dispersed to Glasgow by the Home Office.
“When they come here everyone is a stranger. They are scared. I don’t think a man convicted of attempted rape should be allowed to work with these vulnerable people.”
An immigration lawyer, who asked not to be named, also raised his fears about Misrak Eyob.
During his trial at the High Court in Glasgow in 2009, jurors were told that Eyob pounced on his victim in the street after she became separated from friends on a night out.
The court was shown graphic CCTV footage of the vicious attack which only ended when the crying woman caught the attention of passers by.
She told the court she felt “invaded and disgusted” by the sexual assault, adding “You should be able to walk down the street without someone attacking you.”
Eyob claimed he had only been “hugging and kissing” the woman.
Speaking through an interpreter, the 24-year-old Eritrean told the High Court that “Satan created the situation”.
His counsel Tony Graham said it appeared from the CCTV footage that he was doing more than that.
Speaking via an interpreter, Eyob said: “I was persuaded. I have never engaged myself in criminal conduct.
“I believe in the bible and in Christ. I abide by the rules. I was drinking and it was Satan that created this situation.”
Eyob, who had been in Scotland seven months at the time of the attack, was found guilty and jailed for four years.
Judge Sean Murphy QC also ordered that Eyob be supervised for a further two years on his release.
Both Mr Katani and Misrak Eyob declined to comment.