Source : PortMac.News | Globe :
Source : PortMac.News | Globe | News Story:
News Story Summary:
Afghan army deserter who murdered 3 Australian soldiers freed
Relatives of Lance Corporal Stjepan Milosevic, Private Robert Poate and Sapper James Martin were told about the release by Defence.
Known as Hekmatullah, the Afghan army deserter ambushed Australian soldiers in a so-called "Green on blue" attack while they were playing cards at a forward operating base near Tarin Kowt in Uruzgan province in 2012.
After being captured, he spent seven years in an Afghan jail, but was transported to a facility in Qatar last year as the United States held peace talks with the Taliban.
At the time, the families of the slain Australian soldiers expressed dismay and even called on the Australian government to rethink its alliance with the United States.
Hekmatullah was released shortly after the Taliban recaptured Kabul in August, but it is not known whether he has returned to Afghanistan.
In a statement, an Australian government spokesperson expressed the government's 'Disappointment' and confirmed it did not know the former soldier's whereabouts.
"The Australian government is aware that Afghan Army deserter Hekmatullah, who murdered three off-duty Australians, has been released from custody. His whereabouts cannot be verified," the statement said.
"The government's position has always been that Hekmatullah should serve a just and proportionate sentence, appropriate to his crimes, and not be granted early release or pardon."
The spokesperson added that Australia made "Repeated representations over a long period advocating this position to relevant governments".
"We share the sorrow of Australians at this outcome and again offer our condolences to the families and the loved ones of our three fallen soldiers."
Last year, Robert Poate's father, Hugh Poate, said the fact his son's killer was allowed to leave Afghanistan was a "Damning indictment on the Australian-American alliance".
"America negotiated this deal with the Taliban and did not include Australia or any of the other 50 nations that went to war with the US," he said.
Story By | Andrew Greene