[JURIST] The Australian Defence Force [official website] is investigating claims by four Taliban members detained following the death of an Australian soldier in Afghanistan that they were mistreated during their time in custody, Australian media reported Thursday. The allegations were reported by a senior Afghan commander who spoke of "mistreatment" of prisoners by Australian troops. ABC Australia has more.
Australia currently has slightly over 1000 troops committed to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force [official website] under its Operation Slipper [official backgrounder]. Earlier this week the Melbourne Age reported other complaints by one-time Australian and Dutch detainees that they were beaten after being handed over to local Afghan security forces. Similar claims have dogged the Canadian military [JURIST news archive], which subsequently renegotiated its prisoner transfer agreement with Afghan authorities. In a May 2 statement, Stephen Smith, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, denounced torture and announced the steps Australia is taking to accede to the UN Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture [text], previously rejected by the government of Prime Minister John Howard.