Germany charges Syrian regime officers with torture


German prosecutors Tuesday said they have filed charges against two Syrian former secret service officers on charges of torture, rape and crimes against humanity.

Anwar R., who was arrested in Germany earlier this year, was accused by the Federal Public Prosecutor of murder in 58 cases, as well as torture and sexual offences. His colleague Eyad A. was charged with torture in at least 30 cases.

The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), a Berlin-based institution assisting survivors of torture, said the move was an important step in the fight against impunity.

“These charges send an important message to survivors of Assad’s system of torture,” ECCHR’s Secretary General Wolfgang Kaleck said in a statement.

“We will continue working to ensure that the main perpetrators of torture under Assad are brought to justice — in Germany or elsewhere,” he added.

The trial of the two former secret service officers of the Assad regime in Germany early next year will be the first trial worldwide about state torture in Syria.

The 56-year-old Anwar R. was a senior official of Syria’s General Intelligence Directorate until September 2012, and he was suspected of being responsible for the systematic torture of at least 4,000 people at the Al-Khatib detention facility in Damascus.

His colleague, 42-year-old Eyad A., worked in a subdivision of the Syrian intelligence between July 2011 and January 2012.
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