Tue, 29 Sep 2020

CANBERRA, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) -- Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison has urged U.S. President Donald Trump to prevent the release of an Afghan man who killed three Australian soldiers.

Morrison said on Monday that his government would push "as hard as we can" in keeping the former Afghan soldier known as Hekmatullah who was convicted of murdering three Australian soldiers in Afghanistan in 2012 behind bars.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported on Monday that Hekmatullah was likely to be one of 5,000 prisoners released as part of negotiations between the Taliban and Afghan government.

A peace deal signed between the United States and the Taliban in Qatar in February required the Afghan government to free 5,000 Taliban inmates in exchange for Taliban's release of 1,000 soldiers or government staff.

Morrison confirmed that he has raised the issue with President Trump.

"This has been a matter of very regular and persistent petitioning on our behalf," he told reporters.

"Hekmatullah was responsible for murdering three Australians, and our position is that he should never be released.

"I can't promise you the outcome we all want here, but it's certainly the outcome that we will continue to press for as hard as we can."

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