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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Former Australian SAS soldier jailed for war crimes charges in Afghanistan

A former Australian SAS soldier has been arrested and faces murder charges following an investigation into alleged war crimes in Afghanistan.

On Monday, the 41-year-old was taken into custody in New South Wales (NSW).

He is expected to face one charge of “war crimes – murder” and will appear in court later on Monday, the Australian Federal Police said.

The crime carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

The person arrested has not been formally identified by the authorities. Broadcasting Corporation Australia (ABC) says he is credited as Private C in the 2020 ABC documentary Four Corners exposing alleged war crimes.

Footage shows Private C shooting dead an Afghan man in a wheat field in Uruzgan province in southern Afghanistan in 2012.

The investigation was conducted by the Office of the Special Investigator (OSI), a body created to investigate alleged war crimes after a four-year investigation led by Army Reserve Major General and NSW Supreme Court Justice Paul Brereton.

The Brereton report, released in 2020, found “credible evidence” that elite Australian soldiers unlawfully killed 39 people during the war in Afghanistan.

It said the 19 soldiers or former special forces would be investigated by police for killing “prisoners, farmers or civilians” from 2009 to 2013.

This is believed to be the first arrest related to this investigation.

At the time, the Australian Defense Force blamed a fleeing “warrior culture” among some soldiers for the crime.

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