The Federal Court of Australia Thursday agreed to release documents to the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) and The Guardian filed in a case by former Australian solder Dominic de Pyle. The case alleges that Pyle’s human rights were violated when he was required to perform sex acts as part of his training.
The Australian government had previously sought to suppress the documents. However, ABC intervened in the case and successfully requested that the documents be released.
ABC reported the documents contained an admission by the Australian Government that the Conduct after Capture module “exposes trainees to likely interrogation methods and techniques including those employed by a non-Geneva Convention complaint adversary.” Conduct after Capture is a form of training imparted to soldiers to help them develop resistance to interrogation by replicating the stresses of being captured, kidnapped, or threatened.
The pleadings also reportedly outline Pyle’s complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC). The AHRC complaint reports that Pyle was subjected to stress positions, sleep and food deprivation for a 72-hour period, and hooding as part of his training. Pyle told the AHRC this “led many, including myself, to suffer from visual and auditory hallucinations, [and] extreme distress..”
As part of the training, Pyle alleged he was told his fellow soldiers would be killed if he did not agree to perform sex acts. At the time, he believed the threats were genuine. In an interview with The Guardian, Pyle alleged that the training module resulted in him developing post-traumatic stress disorder.
The training module has previously been subject to a Senate Committee inquiry, which recommended that participants in the module be provided with all relevant information on the nature of the activity before agreeing to participate. The inquiry also recommended that an audit should occur to identify past participants of the program and provide them with information on treatment for physical and psychological injuries. A report by the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide of its examination of the training module is expected in June 2024.
The Australian government has denied Pyle’s claims that the training violated his human rights.