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Man charged with arson in Australia’s deadly wildfire

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd visits State Emergency Service workers at the ruins of their station in Kinglake, Melbourne. (AP)


An Australian court has lifted a ban on naming a man charged with arson in Australia’s deadly wildfires, but officials urged an angry nation to let justice take its course and not to target the family of the accused.

Brendan Solaluk, is facing one count of deadly arson and one of lighting a wildfire in connection with a fire around the town of Churchill fire, in which the court was told Monday at least 11 people were killed.

Solaluk did not appear in Melbourne Magistrate’s Court, which was packed with reporters.

Police say he is being held in protective custody for his own safety, and is undergoing a psychiatric evaluation.

Fire investigators suspect arson in at least two other fires, but have ruled out foul play in the others, which all occurred in southern Victoria state.