A horrifying video showing a young Australian Defence Force recruit being bound, gagged and strangled by his fellow cadets has been slammed by a prominent politician, who has labelled the incident “torture”.
The disturbing 21 minute recording shows ADF recruit Alister French being choked, having chili rubbed in his eyes, having hot water poured on his body, and eventually having another cadet’s penis pushed against his head.
One ADF trainee appears to spearhead the attack as other cadets walk past the scene either appearing unbothered or entertained by Mr French’s screams of fear and pain.
Speaking to the Senate on Tuesday, independent Senator Jacqui Lambie blasted the ADF for their handling of the incident, expressing dismay and disgust at the shocking video.
“The former RAAF aircraftman was bound, gagged and strangled by fellow recruits. In a video that appears to be of the events, the recruit is sexually assaulted,” Senator Lambie said.
“Minister, this is torture.”
Senator Lambie expressed concern that this kind of abuse was becoming “standard behaviour” in the Defence Force, calling on the government to take action.
“There have been dozens of complaints about the toxic culture that has seeped into this one base,” she said.
“Defence investigated the recruit‘s complaints of abuse last year, and nothing happened.
“Why haven‘t Defence done anything about these allegations?”
Mr French and his family are now pursuing legal action against the ADF seeking damages for the ordeal.
The young soldier was medically discharged earlier this year less than two years into his six-year traineeship.
“It‘s still very difficult for myself to go over that night and look at the footage,” Mr French told the ABC on Tuesday.
“I still to this day have nightmares and night terrors of the incident happening.”
Senator Lambie alleged that the ADF had refused to watch the video of Mr French’s abuse, insisting they would not use the footage to assist their inquiry into the incident.
“Defence have been offered a chance to see the video and have declined to use it as part of evidence,” Senator Lambie said.
“They say they are completely unaware of this ever having occurred, and, when given the chance to see it themselves, they say ‘no’.
“They might be going back on that now.”
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