Australian soldiers have been accused of torturing prisoners during a peacemaking mission in East Timor in 1999.
A group of 14 prisoners, suspected of being pro-Indonesian militia, were allegedly beaten, starved, stripped and deprived of sleep, the ABC’s Four Corners reported.
It is alleged the men were held for “secret” interrogation by the Australian SAS and were abused over a period of roughly 72 hours.
Speaking to the program, some of the men recounted the abuse they claim to have received at the hands of their Australian captors.
“They tortured us,” claimed one of the captives, Julio da Silva, who was 16 at the time.
“They hit me, punched me here and I fell backwards.
“Then my back was sore. I had cramps. If I bent forward … they would use a weapon to hit me in the back, kick me in the back, then I fell forward. They sat me up again.”
Other forms of abuse reported by the men included being kicked almost to the point of becoming unconscious and being forced to strip naked.
Some of the men claimed they were still traumatized by what they experienced.
The alleged torture followed a gunbattle involving Australian soldiers in which two militia were killed.
The abuse was investigated by Australian and New Zealand military personnel and despite finding evidence of the torture occurring, no charges were ever laid.