By Anadolu Staff
ANKARA (AA) - A court in Australia granted bail to a former special forces soldier who was arrested last week on charges of murder during his deployment in Afghanistan, local media reported on Tuesday.
Former Australian special forces soldier Oliver Schulz was arrested for killing Afghan civilian Dad Mohammed in central Uruzgan province in 2012, ABC News reported.
However, during his appearance in Sydney's Downing Centre Local Court, his lawyer pleaded for granting him bail as he is facing a potentially dangerous situation in the prison.
“There is no getting around it. I'm afraid he is at risk of grave harm,” the broadcaster quoted barrister Phillip Boulten as telling the court.
The court accepted his plea and granted bail with conditions, including daily reporting to police and a night curfew. Schulz will also not be allowed to communicate with his former colleagues in Afghanistan.
If the court finds him guilty, he could face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
Schulz, 41, was arrested by police at Jindabyne in the New South Wales Snowy Mountains last week and charged with a war crime and murder.
He is also the first current or former Australian soldier to be arrested and charged with a war crime under Australian law.
Australia has conducted a years-long investigation into alleged war crimes committed by its forces in Afghanistan.
In 2020, 39 Australian soldiers were accused of unlawful killings of Afghan civilians or prisoners.
A report commissioned by the inspector-general of the Australian defense force found “credible information” that Australian soldiers murdered civilians and prisoners in Afghanistan.
According to the report, 25 current or former personnel were involved in serious crimes, either carrying out the offenses themselves or being “accessories.”
Gen. Angus Campbell, chief of the Australian defense force, had also offered an apology to Afghans over the killings.
*Writing by Islamuddin Sajid