By chance, the German prosecutor asked for a life sentence for a former Syrian intelligence officer
Anwar Raslan sought refuge in Germany after fleeing Syria in 2012. He is being tried before the Koblenz Court for torturing detainees in a secret regime detention center in Damascus.
Yesterday, Thursday, the German Federal Public Prosecutor demanded a life sentence for a former Syrian intelligence officer accused of “crimes against humanity”, in the first trial taking place in the world over the atrocities accused of the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
And before the Koblenz (West) Court, the public prosecutor confirmed that the accused, Anwar Raslan, 58, a refugee in Germany, is guilty of crimes against humanity.
Raslan sought refuge in Germany after fleeing in 2012, and he has been on trial since April 23, 2020 before the Koblenz Court on charges of torturing detainees in a secret detention center of the regime in Damascus.
This former officer in the state security apparatus is accused, in particular, of involvement in the killing of 58 people, the rape of others, and the torture of about 4,000 detainees in the prison of the Investigations Department of Branch 251, known as “State Security – Al-Khatib Branch.”
More than 10 years after the outbreak of the revolution in Syria, this is the first time that a trial is held in the world centered on the atrocities accused of committing the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
It is expected that the verdict will be issued in this historic case, which is being pursued by a large number of Syrians residing outside their country, on January 13th.
This trial, which was divided into two parts at the beginning of the year, resulted in a verdict on February 24 indicting a former member of the intelligence services, but of a lower rank, for “complicity in crimes against humanity.”
The judges of Koblenz issued a prison sentence of 4.5 years for Iyad Al-Gharib, after he was convicted of arresting protesters in 2011 and transferring them to Al-Khatib Branch Prison, where they were tortured.
To try these Syrians, Germany applies the legal principle of universal jurisdiction, which allows its judiciary to try the perpetrators of serious crimes, regardless of their nationality or where the crimes were committed.
Anwar Raslan remained silent during all sessions, but at the beginning of the trial his lawyer read a long statement on his behalf, in which he denied that his client had practiced torture in the Al-Khatib branch, in which he headed the investigations department.
In fact, Raslan did not try to hide his past when he sought refuge in Germany, and even asked the police in Berlin to protect him in February, and told them that he was an officer in the Syrian intelligence.
in the street
However, Raslan’s story was quickly exposed when he was recognized on a street in the German capital by another Syrian citizen, Anwar al-Bunni, a lawyer and dissident who is now hunting down former collaborators with the refugee regime in Europe.
Raslan was arrested in February 2019 and has since been in pretrial detention.
Since the beginning of his trial, more than 10 Syrian refugees, men and women, who came from different countries in Europe, have come to the witness stand to testify about the atrocities they were subjected to in Al-Khatib branch.
However, other witnesses refused to appear before the court, while others agreed to testify on the condition that their identities would not be revealed, so they hid their faces or put on a wig, for fear that their relatives who are still in Syria would be subjected to reprisals.
Another trial linked to the Syrian regime is scheduled to start next January in Frankfurt, in which a former doctor in Homs Military Prison will be tried, accused of crimes against humanity, for his involvement in torturing detainees.
This doctor sought refuge in Germany, where he practiced his profession before a number of his victims or their relatives recognized him.
On the other hand, the French Court of Cassation ruled in a recent ruling that the French judiciary “does not have jurisdiction” to try a former Syrian soldier accused of involvement in crimes against humanity, and this former soldier was arrested on the same day as Anwar Raslan and Iyad Al-Gharib.