| Photo: EFE/EPA/SASCHA STEINBACH
A court in Germany on Thursday sentenced Anwar Raslan, a former Syrian colonel, to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity committed in a prison in Damascus during the conflict in the country. 13162427Anwar Raslan, who was a Syrian regime intelligence officer who later defected and gained asylum in Germany, was found guilty by the Koblenz regional court for having supervised the murder of at least 27 inmates and the torture of at least 4,000 other people in the prison in the Syrian capital, between April 2011 and September 2012.
This is the first time that a high official of the Bashar al-Assad regime has been found guilty of crimes against humanity. The decision was considered “historic” by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet.
“Today’s verdict should serve to boost all efforts to broaden the network of accountability for all perpetrators of the unspeakable crimes that characterized this brutal conflict,” said Bachelet.
The court concluded that Raslan was in charge of interrogations at Al Khatib prison, also called Branch 251, in the city of Douma, Damascus region, where opponents suspected of participating in protests were taken. The place has become a symbol of the brutal treatment given by the regime to contain demonstrations.
13162427 )Raslan’s 27 lawyers asked that the judges to acquit the defendant, arguing that he never personally tortured anyone and that he defected at the end of 2012.
“Today, this verdict is important for all Syrians who have suffered and still suffer with the crimes of the Assad regime,” said Ruham Hawash, a survivor of torture at the prison and one of the 01 Former inmates who testified at the trial.
“We initially expected a trial at the international criminal court, but this is an important step,” said Hussein Ghrer, also a former Branch inmate
“Finally, we have an official conviction saying that this Individuals have committed crimes in the context of mass attacks against Syrians and systematic crimes against humanity. I believe this is the most important thing to work on in the future,” said Ghrer, according to The Guardian.
During the 50 days of the trial, reports were heard of about 50 witnesses, who described the violence and abuse committed against the detainees.In 2017, Raslan fled to Jordan, and in
received asylum on humanitarian grounds in Germany, where he stated that he did not try to hide his past.
German Federal Police began investigating Raslan in 2017 , after he described his roles in Syria’s security system during an interview with Stuttgart police, he was arrested in 2019.