German Court Sentences Former Syrian War Crimes Official To Life In Prison

German court sentences former Syrian war crimes official to life in prison

A German court has sentenced this Thursday to life imprisonment for torture the former high command of the Syrian secret services Anwar Raslan, prosecuted in the first international trial against alleged perpetrators of crimes of the Government of President Bashar al Asad.

The trial, which began in April 2020, was held in Koblenz, in the south of the country, based on the principle of universal justice, which Germany adhered to in 2002. It is a process that can set a precedent for accountability that They demand governments and activists for the crimes committed by the Syrian regime during the civil war.


The charge against Raslan, a former colonel in the intelligence services, stems from crimes against humanity committed during the early years of the conflict, before he defected in 2012. Raslan was then working for military intelligence, allegedly as director of a Research unit inside the infamous Section 251, which had its own prison. According to the indictment, the former colonel oversaw his particular reign of terror there for 16 months, with torture that included electric shocks, beatings and sexual assault. The detention record says that more than 4,000 people were tortured there during those months and that 58 detainees died.

Raslan thought his decision to defect in 2012 would protect him. He had left Syria a few months after the massacre in the opposition stronghold of Hula, Your place of origin. He went first to Jordan and then to Turkey, where he joined the opposition. He then applied for asylum in Germany.

He did not hide his work for the intelligence services of the regime, assuming that it was in the past. In 2015 he even asked the German police for help, convinced that he was being followed by agents of the Syrian regime. Police found no evidence that this was the case, but in 2017 Raslan was asked to testify in a Syrian war crimes investigation. It was that involvement that prompted investigators to begin looking into what Raslan himself had done. In 2019 he was arrested accused of crimes against humanity.



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