An Australian fugitive wanted for murder is now begging to return home and face his fate after being holed up in Afghanistan for the past four years.
In a disturbing indication of the fear held by millions of Afghans now under the Taliban's rule, Saied 'Sam' Hussaini, 32, is at Kabul Airport trying desperately to return to Perth despite knowing he faces the prospect of life behind bars on his arrival.
The dual national fled Australia in August 2017, after becoming a suspect in the alleged murder of friend Dejan Dimitrovski, 36, who was tortured and killed inside his Balga home over a likely drug debt.
Mr Hussaini was arrested at the scene of the killing and questioned by WA Police before fleeing the country two weeks later.
For the past three days, Mr Hussaini's Perth barrister Jeremy Noble has been working the telephones, talking to federal authorities in an attempt to get his client past the thousands of desperate people trying to get inside the airport and on to freedom.
"All Australian citizens are entitled to the safety that they deserve by right of their citizenship," he said.
"This man will face due process when he comes back to Australia."
On Tuesday, Mr Hussaini was cleared through the heavily guarded airport gates. The Department of Foreign Affairs and WA Police are aware he is now waiting for an evacuation flight.
Four of his alleged accomplices went on trial in the Supreme Court of Western Australia in February charged with murder, with the court hearing a fifth man — nicknamed "AK" due to a tattoo he had of an AK47 firearm on his head — had fled overseas.
Two of the men were sentenced to nine and 10 years' jail for manslaughter. A third was jailed for four years for being an accessory after the fact, and a fourth man was acquitted.
During the sentencing, Justice Anthony Derrick noted Mr Hussaini — the alleged instigator of the violent attack on Mr Dimitrovski — had fled Australia using his brother's passport and had not returned since.
"He is still a suspect for the unlawful killing of Mr Dimitrovski," he said.
It has since been revealed he fled to his native Afghanistan and is living in Kabul, which on August 15 fell to the Taliban.
GAP Veteran & Legal Services lawyer Glenn Kolomeitz — who is assisting Afghan allies and dual nationals escape the capital — was not aware of Mr Hussaini's case but wasn't shocked to hear of his decision.
"As a former policeman and former prosecutor, I can say with some certainty, life in prison in Australia and facing the Australian justice system would be far preferable to facing Taliban justice, if I can use that term, and facing a life under a Taliban regime," he said.
"We have a couple of dual nationals who we're helping who went back to Afghanistan and got stuck there when the situation deteriorated and they're saying should they be destroying their passports and other Australian identifiers.
"So you can't discard the possibility that the Taliban would target these people because they're now Australian citizens or permanent residents."
WA Police have indicated Mr Hussaini will be arrested and charged with murder upon his return to Australia.
When Kabul fell, there were about 130 Australian citizens, some of them dual Afghan nationals, living in Afghanistan.