Crime & Justice

German court finds ex-Syrian official guilty of crimes against humanity

Berlin, Jan 13 (EFE).- A German court on Thursday sentenced former Syrian intelligence official Anwar Raslan to life in prison for crimes against humanity committed at a Damascus jail during the early stages of the Syrian civil war.

The landmark ruling by the regional court in Koblenz is the first international criminal procedure against state-led torture committed by the regime of Bashar Al-Assad.

Prosecutors had accused Raslan of 58 counts of murder and 4,000 counts of torture carried out at the Al Khatib prison in Damascus between 2011-12.

The Koblenz court found him guilty of 27 accounts of murder, as well as other counts of rape, privation of liberty, kidnap and sexual abuse.

The brutal and notorious Al Khatib intelligence unit, also known as Branch 251, was used to clamp down on anti-government activists and protesters at the start of the ongoing Syrian civil war.

Raslan, 58, a former colonel, served as the intelligence chief overseeing the detention center before he defected from the Assad regime and fled to Jordan.

In 2014, Raslan sought asylum in Germany but was arrested five years later to face accusations of crimes against humanity.

The landmark trial, made possible by Germany’s universal jurisdiction laws, opened in 2020. EFE


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