Germany convicts Syrian ex-colonel in historic torture trial

14/1/2022 3:24:00 AM

Germany convicts Syrian ex-colonel in historic torture trial

https://str.sg/wQ4RKOBLENZ, GERMANY (AFP) - A German court on Thursday (Jan 13) sentenced a former Syrian colonel to life in jail for crimes against humanity in a historic verdict hailed by victims as a victory for justice, as the first global trial over state-sponsored torture in Syria drew to an end.

Anwar Raslan, 58, was found guilty of overseeing the murder of 27 people and the torture of 4,000 others at the Al-Khatib detention centre in Damascus, also known as"Branch 251", in 2011 and 2012.He sought refuge in Germany after deserting the Syrian regime in 2012.

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Former Syrian colonel guilty in war crimes trial in GermanyWhat about Bush and Tony Blair? Both were war criminals..

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Man on trial for sexually abusing ex-girlfriend's children more than a decade agoAfter a spat with her daughter, a woman complained to her son about his 'rebellious' younger sister, only to be told - for the first time - that the siblings had been sexually assaulted by her former boyfriend when they were children more than a decade ago. The son...

Man on trial for sexually abusing ex-girlfriend's children more than a decade ago

Man on trial for sexually abusing ex-GF's son and daughter more than a decade agoAfter a spat with her daughter, a woman complained to her son about his 'rebellious' younger sister, only to be told - for the first time - that the siblings had been sexually assaulted by her former boyfriend when they were children more than a decade ago. Read more at stomp.straitstimes.com

'He touched us': Man on trial for sexual abuse of ex-girlfriend's kids 20 years later“He touched us and made us do weird things....We keep it from you for 10 years,” wrote the older sibling, now 30, in a text to his mother in 2016

Copy to clipboard https://str.sg/wQ4R KOBLENZ, GERMANY (AFP) - A German court on Thursday (Jan 13) sentenced a former Syrian colonel to life in jail for crimes against humanity in a historic verdict hailed by victims as a victory for justice, as the first global trial over state-sponsored torture in Syria drew to an end. Anwar Raslan, 58, was found guilty of overseeing the murder of 27 people and the torture of 4,000 others at the Al-Khatib detention centre in Damascus, also known as"Branch 251", in 2011 and 2012. He sought refuge in Germany after deserting the Syrian regime in 2012. During the trial, more than 80 witnesses testified about what the court in Koblenz called catastrophic conditions in the centre, which had a reputation for being especially brutal. They took the stand despite"a great fear of the Syrian regime, whether for themselves or for their families", said presiding judge Anne Kerber."I owe them my full respect," she said. President Bashar al-Assad's regime had resorted to violence and"the heavy use of munitions" to suppress protests that erupted in March 2011, Judge Kerber said, also stressing that"the Syrian regime is not here in the court". Detainees were not only"tortured but also starved and deprived of air" in unsanitary, crowded cells where they could not sit or lie down, she said. Mr Firas al-Shater, a victim who testified before the courts, said the life sentence was"not comparable to what they did to us, but it is a vote for democracy". He said:"For me personally, when I was in prison, my goal was to get out and report what happened there." Another victim, Mr Wassim Mukdad, voiced relief over the verdict."It sends the signal that torture and crimes that took place in Syria are crimes against humanity and that the perpetrators must pay for them." Syrian lawyer Anwar al-Bunni, who had recognised Raslan as the man who threw him in jail when he crossed paths with him at a DIY store in Germany, was overjoyed by the"victory for justice". "I am so happy... It's a victory for Syria and future of Syria," he said. Co-plaintiffs Wassim Mukdad (left) and Firas Alshater speaking to the press following the verdict in the trial of Anwar Raslan, in Koblenz, Germany, on Jan 13, 2022. PHOTO: AFP United Nations rights chief Michelle Bachelet called the verdict a"landmark leap forward", while Mr Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch, which provided some of the evidence used in the trial, described it as historic. The United States State Department hailed it as a victory for the victims of the"Assad regime's decade-long assault against its own people". "It is a clear signal that those responsible for such atrocities must be held accountable," spokesman Ned Price said on Twitter. Syrian activists gathered outside the court on Thursday holding banners and posters with slogans such as"Where are they?" referring to their relatives who have disappeared in Syrian detention centres. Activist Yasmen Almasha said:"I think that this is what he deserves. I would've wished for my brother Okba to have had the same fair prosecution that Anwar Raslan did. Maybe he would've still been alive, we wouldn't have lost him." Ms Yasmen Almashan holding a picture of her brothers who died in Syria, during a protest outside the courthouse in Kobelenz, Germany, on Jan 13, 2022. PHOTO: EPA-EFE Raslan was