Civilian wounded in Afghanistan tells ABC the ADF blamed him in ‘coverup’

Tonight at 7.30 on the ABC, reporter Dylan Welch will present a story in which he claims that an ADF inquiry into a suicide bombing sought to blame the victim of the attack, because he was wearing the wrong body armour.

CAPTION: David Savage, right, lies injured on the ground after the blast that nearly killed him in the Chora Valley, Afghanistan, in 2012. Photo supplied by David Savage to the ABC.

Victim of the attack, former Australian Federal Police officer and UN war crimes investigator David Savage, told the ABC he always knew there was a risk he could be wounded or killed working in Afghanistan, but never in his wildest dreams thought he’d be wounded even more fighting his own countrymen for justice.

“I’ve worked on some of the most egregious war crimes, trying to seek justice for victims – and I’ve spent the last seven years … trying to get justice for myself from my own government,” Mr Savage told reporter Dylan Welch.

Mr Savage was almost killed by a 12-year-old suicide bomber on 26 March 2012 while serving as an AusAid adviser in the Chora Valley, Uruzgan.

He was hit with 64 ball bearings and pieces of shrapnel, suffered a traumatic brain injury and psychological scars, and remains in a wheelchair.

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Mr Savage was interviewed several months after the attack by two Australian Army officers conducting an Inquiry Officer Inquiry.

Mr Savage told the ABC that when the two investigators came to interview him, their attitude from the beginning was adversarial.

“They didn’t seem to want to know anything about what had happened or how I got blown up – [they were] just focussed on the fact that I wasn’t wearing an ADF ballistic vest.”

ABC will contend that when released, the Defence report was highly critical of Mr Savage and entirely exonerated the US soldiers guarding him, and the Australian Defence Force who were responsible for overall security in the area.

 

You can read Dylan Welch’s web-site report here, and watch the TV broadcast version on ABC at 7.30 tonight (3 December).

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Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

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