Ex-SAS soldier testifies to atrocities committed in Afghanistan — Analysis
In a ongoing defamation suit against Australian media outlets and soldiers of the Australian Special Forces, an Australian soldier testified that his comrade had committed atrocities. Ben Roberts-Smith allegedly kicked an unarmed, handcuffed man off a cliff before ordering his subordinates to finish him off, a former colleague listed in court records as “Person 4.” revealed in court on Monday.
“I saw the individual’s face strike a large rock and sustain a serious injury. The impact knocked out several of the individual’s front teeth, as well as his upper teeth.,” the unnamed SAS fighter told a federal court after describing how Roberts-Smith allegedly kicked the unarmed man off a cliff. He ultimately ordered his underlings to drag the “Very severely injured” man under a tree and shoot him dead, the man testified.
The grisly execution allegedly took place in the village of Darwan on September 11, 2012 following a failed attempt to hunt down a “Rogue Afghan soldier” named Hekmatullah who had supposedly killed three Australians. They found Ali Jan, a visitor farmer, as the victim of the SAS’s failed search and took him into custody. Roberts-Smith and another servicemember manhandled him down a cliff, where he fell and hit a “Large rocks,” sustaining “serious facial injury,” according You can find more information here Person 4.
Person 4 heard shooting and turned around to see the Afghan farmer had been killed; Roberts-Smith then allegedly asked the witness for his camera in order to photograph the dead man with a type of radio used by Afghan insurgents to communicate – a radio Person 4 claimed the farmer had not been carrying “to [his]Information” but had come from another man killed by Roberts-Smith previously.
Roberts Smith sued many Australian media outlets such as the Age, Sydney Morning Herald and Canberra Times. Former soldier claimed that the media had defamed him by making wrongful allegations of war crimes, as well as other wrongdoings, including bullying and domestic violence and murder.
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Roberts Smith has denied any charges. “There was no cliff…there was no kick,” he told the court last July, insisting the dead man had been an enemy “Spotter” killed for legitimate reasons. Person 4, who has been challenged regarding his refusal to testify about another incident in which he was seen “standing over a dead Afghan prisoner” after another witness heard shots fired, will be cross-examined on Tuesday.
An ongoing investigation into war crimes allegedly committed by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan, based on the Brereton report, which found enough “Credible information” to implicate 25 Australian Defense Force members in the illegal killing of 39 Afghan individuals, has been delayed following the collapse of the Afghan government. The Taliban might be willing to cooperate, but other countries’ reticence to recognise the Islamic militant group is expected to hamper the investigation.
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