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German court convicts Syria torturer in landmark case

An outside view of Higher Regional Court of Koblenz, as lawyer Patrick Kroker (L) making statements, on February 24, 2021 in Koblenz city of Germany. [Mesut Zeyrek - Anadolu Agency]
An outside view of Higher Regional Court of Koblenz, as lawyer Patrick Kroker (L) making statements, on February 24, 2021 in Koblenz city of Germany. [Mesut Zeyrek - Anadolu Agency]

A former Syrian intelligence officer has just been sentenced to four and a half years in prison in Germany for aiding and abetting crimes against humanity in the form of torture and deprivation of liberty.

Eyad Al-Gharib, 44, was found guilty of assisting the torture of Syrians as a government intelligence officer and arresting and delivering at least 30 protesters to Al-Khatib detention centre in Damascus to be tortured after a protest in Duma in 2011.

During the trial over a dozen Syrians testified about the horrific abuses they were subjected to at the Al-Khatib detention centre. Some did so anonymously for fear of reprisal against their relatives back home by the regime.

Photos smuggled out of Syria by military police defector codenamed Caesar were also shown as evidence.

READ: Syria regime bombs Idlib, breaching de-escalation deal

The judgement was the first worldwide against state-sponsored torture carried out by the Assad regime and the brutal suppression of protests by the regime.

As the verdict was issued Eyad hid his face from the cameras. The court heard how he had defected in 2012 and finally left Syria in 2013, arriving in Germany in 2018.

Eyad, who was granted asylum in Germany in 2019, was tried under the principle of universal jurisdiction.

Another Syrian, Anwar Raslan, who was arrested at the same time and who worked at the same agency is still on trial.

Anwar, 58, is accused directly of crimes against humanity including overseeing the torture of some 4,000 people between 2011 and 2012, 58 counts of murder, rape and sexual assault.

Prosecutors said the two men were cogs in the machine of a system enabling a vast torture machine to operate on an almost industrial scale.

As a result of the Syrian war over six million Syrians have fled their homes and are displaced across the country and 5.7 million live as refugees in neighbouring countries.

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Europe & RussiaGermanyMiddle EastNewsSyria
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