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Australia military probe clears soldiers of Afghan 'mistreatment'

[JURIST] An internal military probe Monday cleared members of the Australian Defence Force [official website] of allegations that they mistreated four Taliban members detained following the death of an Australian soldier in Afghanistan last November. The investigation [JURIST report] also cleared soldiers of any wrongdoing in connection with civilian deaths during the November battle, but said that such deaths were "highly regrettable."

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. In a May 2 statement, Stephen Smith, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, denounced torture and announced 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. AFP has more.

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