Today, Wednesday, Germany is witnessing the trial of a Syrian doctor suspected of crimes against humanity, including torturing prisoners in military hospitals in Syria, in the second case of its kind in relation to accusations of torture crimes supported by the regime in Syria.
After a German court last week sentenced former Syrian intelligence officer Anwar Raslan to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity, the trial of the 36-year-old doctor will begin at the Higher Regional Court in Frankfurt.
The accused, whose personal name only (Alaa M.) was revealed under German privacy laws, faces charges of torturing opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad while he worked as a doctor in a military prison and hospitals in Homs and Damascus in 2011 and 2012.
Bashar al-Assad’s government denies accusations of torturing prisoners.
It was “Ala M.” He arrived in Germany in 2015 to work as a doctor, until he was arrested in June 2020. He has since been in pre-trial detention.
German prosecutors use universal jurisdiction laws that allow them to seek prosecutions of suspected perpetrators of crimes against humanity anywhere in the world.
Prosecutors accused “Alaa M.” In 18 cases of torture, they say he killed one of the prisoners. In one case, the defendant is accused of performing corrective surgery for a bone fracture without adequate anaesthesia.
He is also accused of attempting to deprive prisoners of their reproductive ability in two cases. Other torture methods that prosecutors say he used against civilian detainees include dousing a teenager’s genitals with alcohol in a Homs military hospital and setting them on fire with a lighter.
The doctor also worked in the 601 Military Hospital in Mezzeh in Damascus, whose morgue and courtyard were seen, according to Human Rights Watch, in a series of photographs depicting the extent of torture adopted by the state against civilians and smuggled abroad by a photographer working with the government known as Caesar.
crimes against humanity
Antonia Klein, legal advisor at the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, which supports the prosecution in the case, said sexual violence as a crime against humanity would play an important role in the trial.
“The trial also shows how diverse the crimes (in the Syrian conflict) and in what scale will continue to occur,” Klein said.
Syrian lawyer Anwar al-Bunni, who heads a Berlin rights group that helped bring the case against Alaa M., said the trial would yield more evidence that the Syrian government incited torture to quell the uprising against Assad.
“We hope that he will be sentenced to life imprisonment,” al-Bunni said, adding that he expected the court to reach a verdict by the end of this year.
The case of Anwar Raslan
And last Thursday, a German court sentenced the former Syrian officer, Anwar Raslan, to life imprisonment, for convicting him of committing crimes of torture and murder against Syrian detainees.
The Higher Regional Court in the city of Koblenz, in the German state of Rhineland-Waals, had seized the case of the accused, Anwar Raslan, a Syrian refugee officer in Germany who worked in the security branch known as “Al-Khatib Branch” in the Syrian capital, Damascus, and it is one of the security branches that Activists say it has committed the most heinous crimes against Syrians.
The Public Prosecutor charged Raslan with: torturing more than 4,000 detainees, and killing 58 people as a result of severe torture, in addition to being responsible for two cases of rape and sexual violence. According to the prosecution, these crimes were committed between April 2011 and September 2012.