First trial over Syrian state-sponsored torture looms in Germany

Germany charged two alleged former Syrian secret service officers with participating in crimes against humanity, paving the way for the first trial worldwide over State-sponsored torture in Syria, a German NGO said on Tuesday.

“The first trial worldwide about state torture in Syria is expected to start in Germany in early 2020 – an important step in the fight against impunity,” the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) said in a statement.

Anwar Raslan and Eyad al-Gharib were arrested in February in Germany together with a third suspect in France, the federal prosecutor’s office in Karlsruhe said.

Charges against the two men were filed on October 22, the prosecutor’s office announced on Tuesday.

Raslan, who allegedly led an investigative unit with its own prison in the Damascus area is “suspected of complicity in crimes against humanity”, prosecutors said in a statement.