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Claims Of Mistreatment By Australian Soldiers

Defence Investigating Claims Of Mistreatment By Australian Soldiers

Defence today announced that a combined Military/Australian Federal Police investigation is under way into allegations that Australian soldiers had mistreated detainees held at an Interrogation Centre last year in East Timor.

Chief of Army, Lt General Peter Cosgrove, said similar allegations first surfaced in East Timor in October last year. These were investigated and shown to be unfounded.

"These allegations have been made again along with some new allegations raised by News Limited today.

"Army views all these allegations very seriously and as a result, an investigation is under way into whether or not there is any basis to them," General Cosgrove said.

"The new allegations raised by News Limited already have been referred to an investigative team," he said

The team comprises senior military investigators including an Army Major, a RAAF Wing Commander, a Naval Chief Petty Officer and a representative of the Australian Federal Police.

Lt General Cosgrove said the allegations strike at the heart of Army's core values and go against the training and procedures provided to military personnel.

"The traditions of the Australian Army have been to be 'a force for good' - to support peacekeeping and justice wherever it deploys. The Australian Army was a 'force for good' when it deployed with INTERFET in East Timor," he said.

"These allegations undermine the hard work our men and women did over there and are continuing to do today as part of UNTAET," the General said.

"We will firmly adhere to the principle that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. That is the Australian way. We will vigorously investigate these allegations and await the team's findings. If any of these allegations are true, then the people involved will be dealt with in an appropriate manner." he said.


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