Victim of alleged Nullarbor Plain murder was interpreter for ADF and US Army in Afghanistan, friends say
Ibrahim Hotak (left) and Afghan National Association of Australia president Raz Mohammad. (Facebook)
A man allegedly murdered on South Australia’s Nullarbor Plain on Monday had previously worked as an interpreter with the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and the US Army in Afghanistan, with friends saying he had “escaped the warzone” in moving to Australia.
- Police have charged a 32-year-old Victorian man with murder
- Adelaide resident Ibrahim Hotak was yesterday revealed as the victim
- A friend of the Mr Hotak says he was an interpreter with the ADF and US Army
Police allege Ibrahim Hotak, 29, was killed by a 32-year-old Victorian man that he had been travelling with between Ceduna and the Nullarbor Roadhouse on Monday.
Both men were from Afghanistan.
Afghan National Association of Australia president Raz Mohammad said Mr Hotak was an interpreter with both the Australian and American armies in Afghanistan before he came to Australia in late 2013 or early 2014.
Mr Mohammad said he was also an interpreter for the ADF in Afghanistan but the pair did not know each other in their home country.
Both men came to Australia on special humanitarian visas after facing threats to their safety from the Taliban.
Mr Mohammad said Mr Hotak was seriously injured when an improvised explosive device (IED) set by the Taliban went off while he was working as an interpreter for coalition forces.
‘He escaped the warzone in Afghanistan’
Friends of Mr Hotak who gathered outside his Adelaide home yesterday also confirmed that he worked as an interpreter in Afghanistan.
Mr Mohammad said Mr Hotak had four children and he believed his widow was also pregnant.
“We were all shocked — it was a big tragedy for all of us, but especially for his family,” Mr Mohammad told the ABC.
“He escaped the warzone in Afghanistan and came here to the safety and was quite happy living here in Australia.
“But that his life had to end like this is pretty bad and shocking for all of us — his family, really shocking for everyone.”
Friends gather outside Ibrahim Hotak’s Adelaide house after he was allegedly murdered on the Nullarbor the day before. (ABC News: Leah MacLennan)
Mr Mohammad said Mr Hotak had also worked briefly as an interpreter for ABC International in Australia and was a security officer at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and Adelaide Oval, as well as an Uber driver.
He was also a member of the Afghan Cricket Club.
‘We had no fear for our lives’
Mr Mohammad said his friend Mr Hotak “wouldn’t do anything bad to another person”.
“He was thinking and we are thinking that we are safe to live in a country like Australia,” he said.
“We had no fear for our lives to be honest and he had that as well, that he had any threat to his life in Australia, but then this happened, it shocked everyone.”
Mr Mohammad had recently invited Mr Hotak to be a public officer for the Afghan association, but he died before he could take up the position.
The Adelaide Afghan community is setting up an online fundraising page to pay to repatriate Mr Hotak’s body to Afghanistan.
Police yesterday said Mr Hotak’s alleged killer was unemployed, had no ties to Australia and was yet to have his passport seized.
Police prosecutors said DNA, blood splatter and forensic analysis of electronic devices would all form part of the investigation.
They said the pair had a fight before “parting company” during their trip from Adelaide to Perth.
The alleged killer did not apply for bail and was remanded in custody until August.