German court finds a former Syrian army colonel guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

A court in Germany convicted a former army colonel of war crimes and a crime against humanity.

Anwar Raslan was found guilty of 27 murder, rape, and sexual assault counts at the Al-Khatib detention center near Damascus.

This conviction was a first to connect someone directly associated with the Syrian state with war crimes.

The principle of universal jurisdiction allows courts in Germany to try those accused of war crimes in other countries.

 

Yasmen Almashan, a Syrian campaigner for the Caesar Families Association, waits outside the courthouse in Koblenz, western Germany on Thursday.

Charges on the perpetrator:

The perpetrator allegedly worked as the lead interrogator for the Syrian secret service at the Al-Khatib detention center in Damascus and was allegedly responsible for torturing at least 4,000 people.

He is also charged with the murder of 58 detainees. The prosecution called for a life sentence.

The former colonel rejects the accusations. He has claimed to secretly have supported the opposition, even taking part in the 2014 Geneva peace conference.

The prosecution contested this narrative with the help of witness accounts who described a man who continuously employed his power to carry out orders given by the regime.

His co-defendant Eyad. A, was accused of bringing 30 anti-government demonstrators to the Al-Khatib torture prison. An appeal from the co-defendant is pending in the courts.

By Aniruddh Rajendran

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