First world Syrian torture trial opens in Germany

Two former members of the Syrian secret police, Anwar R and Eyad A, face mass torture allegations before a court in Koblenz. This is the first trial abroad for crimes committed by the Assad regime during Syria’s long civil war. The refugees claimed they were tortured at the Al Khatib or Branch 251 prison near Damascus. Anwar R who was in charge of the site is accused of crimes against humanity, rape and at least 58 murders, as well as complicity in more than 4,000 cases of torture. Eyad A is charged with membership of a police squad that detained protesters and brought them back to Branch 251.

At least nine torture victims are represented as co-plaintiffs in the case while several more are expected to be called as witnesses. They are supported by the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights. If convicted, Anwar R could face life imprisonment. Eyad A a sentence of up to 15 years for complicity in crimes against humanity.

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