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Belgium indicts Syria man over war crimes committed by Assad regime militia

January 31, 2024 at 9:01 pm

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad in Damascus [JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images]

A Syrian man has been indicted and detained in Belgium over charges of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria, in the first such case within the European nation.

According to Belgian judicial officials on Monday, the man identified as Hossin A. is suspected of having belonged to a militia affiliated to the Syrian regime of Bashar Al-Assad, based in the country’s western city of Salamiyah.

He is accused of having helped violently suppress opposition protests and movements that swept throughout Syria in 2011, subsequently committing war crimes and crimes against humanity until 2016.

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Federal prosecutors reported that Hossin A. has been in Belgium for the past seven or eight years, with an investigation opened in 2021, resulting in the search of his home in the Brussels area on 23 January, as well as of two companies he had ties to.

The suspect was brought before a judge in Brussels the day after that search of his home, being charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Syria. He was then due to appear in court again on Monday, but that hearing was reportedly postponed at the defence’s request until 8 February. Until then, he remains in custody.

The case represents the first time someone in Belgium has been charged with serious violations of international humanitarian law over crimes specifically committed during the ongoing 13-year-long Syrian civil war.

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