SAS soldier: Veterans used as ‘punching bags’

 

 

Retired commander Heston Russell has told Sky News Australian veterans are being "hogtied" and used as "punching bags" after accusations of war crimes broadcast in the media.

The former special forces officer served from 2003 to 2019 and was accused in an ABC article of witnessing the murder of an unarmed Afghan prisoner during a mission in Afghanistan in 2012.

Heston Russell while serving in the army in Afghanistan.
Heston Russell while serving in the army in Afghanistan.

 

Former Special Forces officer Heston Russell. Picture: Brett Costello
Former Special Forces officer Heston Russell. Picture: Brett Costello

Major Russell told Sky News accusations like this one deeply affected the battered veteran community.

"We've just lost more veterans to suicide in the past 20 years then we did in the entire Vietnam War campaign," he said.

"The impact it's having on us is huge. We are being hogtied and used as punching bags, unable to speak out against these accusations."

Major Russell vehemently ­denied the allegations, made by an anonymous US Marine.

Major Russell said any ­allegations should be submitted to the ongoing inquiry into crimes in Afghanistan.

"And then myself, Heston Russell, can then be called ­before a court of law and then taken through the evidence ... as opposed to this trial by media, which is occurring and it's really starting to hurt our soldiers a lot," he said.

 

 

Originally published as SAS soldier: Veterans used as 'punching bags'

Former SAS officer Heston Russell.
Former SAS officer Heston Russell.

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