Germany: Prosecutor accuses witness of 'false claims' during Syrian torture trial

German prosecutors raised doubts about a witness' testimony, as the trial of two suspected former members of Syrian secret service, accused of crimes against humanity for their alleged responsibility in the torture of detainees, continued in the German city of Koblenz, on Wednesday. Attendees and court staff can be seen waiting for the judges in the courtroom and stand up as they arrive. During the trial on Wednesday, Attorney General Jasper Klinge raised the possibility of investigating the testimony of a former Syrian intelligence service staff member, accusing him of making «false claims», as the witness reportedly invoked memory gaps and minimised what he had previously told police. Judges said the witness' family may have been threatened. Firas Fayyad, a Syrian film-maker, became the first alleged victim of defendant Anwar R. to testify in court on Wednesday. Anwar R. reportedly arrived in Germany in 2014 while Eyad A., the second suspected ex-security service member, reportedly arrived in the country in 2018. The defendants were recognised by suspected victims after their relocation to Germany and were arrested in February 2019. Anwar R. is accused of crimes against humanity including murder, rape and sexual assault. Eyad A. is accused of aiding a crime against humanity. The indictment accuses Anwar R. of being responsible for the torture of at least 4,000 people in a high-ranking prison in Damascus, with at least 58 prisoners dying as a result. Eyad A. is accused of having brought at least 30 demonstrators to the torture prison. German prosecutors used universal jurisdiction laws to bring the defendants to court. The laws allow them to prosecute crimes against humanity committed anywhere in the world, even if neither the perpetrators or the victims are German. The Syrian government has denied allegations of torture and war crimes levied against it, and has made no mention of the trial in Koblenz, reports say.

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