Germany: Torture trial of suspected former Syrian officers continues in Koblenz

The trial of two suspected former service members of the Syrian government over accusations of torture continued in the West-German city of Koblenz on Thursday, a day after the Higher Regional Court accepted the indictment brought by the attorney general against the two. Attendees were seen standing up for the judges' arrival as well as one of the defendants covering his face in the courtroom. 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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