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Ex-Australian soldier arrested over alleged war crime in Afghanistan

Canberra, March 20 (IANS) A former Australian soldier was arrested in the New South Wales (NSW) state on Monday, facing charges of committing war crime during his service in Afghanistan.

Following a joint operation by Australia’s Office of the Special Investigator (OSI) and the Australian Federal Police (AFP), the 41-year-old man will be charged with one count of War Crime — Murder under subsection 268.70(1) Criminal Code Act 1995, reports Xinhua news agency.

The police said the man was arrested in regional NSW Monday morning and is expected to appear in a local court.

“It will be alleged he murdered an Afghan man while deployed to Afghanistan with the Australian Defence Force,” the AFP said in a statement, adding that the maximum penalty for a War Crime-Murder offence is life imprisonment.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) identified the man in a news report, saying that he was shown in an ABC Investigations-Four Corners story in 2020 shooting an Afghan man in a wheat field in Uruzgan province.

“ABC Investigations understands that a dedicated OSI team made up of homicide detectives and an intelligence officer examined the killing for more than two years,” the report wrote.

Established in 2021, the OSI is one element of the Australian government’s response to the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force’s Afghanistan Inquiry Report.

The office is working with the federal police to investigate allegations of criminal offences under Australian law by members of the Australian Defence Force in Afghanistan from 2005 to 2016.

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