Ex-Syrian Official Sentenced To Life In Prison For Crimes Against Humanity

A German court on Thursday convicted a former Syrian intelligence officer to life in prison for crimes against humanity, a rare case marking the first time a top member of the Syrian regime was accountable for crimes committed during the civil war.

Anwar Raslan, 58, Syrian former colonel was found guilty of overseeing the murder of at least 58 people at the Al-Khatib detention center in Damascus.

Raslan was also charged with the torture of at least 4,000 people during his time as a commanding officer at the Branch 251 regime prison from April 2011 to September 2012.

German prosecutors said Raslan was found guilty of supervising interrogations including electric shocks, beatings with fists, wires, and whips, rape, sexual assault, and sleep deprivation.

Eric Witte, a senior policy officer with the Open Society Justice Initiative said, “This shows that evidence collected by Syrian organizations and survivors stands up in court. It proves to prosecutors in Germany and beyond that these cases can be brought to court to win,”

“As we speak, tens of thousands of people in Syria remain disappeared and in detention and are being tortured today. It’s important to remind the world that these crimes are ongoing,” Witte added. 

Raslan defected from the Syrian regime and fled to Jordan in 2012 before being granted asylum in Germany in 2014.

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