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First trial on state sponsored torture in Syria to hold in Germany

March 12, 2020 at 2:25 am

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad in Sochi, Russia on 21 November 2017 [Kremlin Press Office/Anadolu Agency]

The first trial of suspected members of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s intelligence services for crimes against humanity, including torturing and killing opposition activists, will start next month, a German court said on Tuesday.

According to the Berlin-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), it will be the first-ever legal proceedings in the world over state-sponsored torture in Syria.

The court in the western city of Koblenz said it had given the green light to a trial starting on April 23, Reuters reported.

“This process in Germany gives hope, even if everything takes a long time and nothing happens tomorrow, or even the day after tomorrow. The fact that it continues at all gives us as survivors hope for justice.” said a Syrian who was tortured in the Al-Khatib detention facility, ECCHR reported.

Read: Report: After Iran envoy dies, Israel losing hope in finding missing pilot in Syria 

The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) estimates that 1.2 million Syrian citizens have been arrested and detained at some point since the start of the uprising in March 2011. At least 130,000 are still detained or forcibly disappeared by the Syrian regime.

Over 14,000 people have been tortured to death in the Syria war using 72 different methods of torture, the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) also reported.