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Material used for torture in an underground prison
Items used by rebel fighters to torture civilians and anti-Assad protesters being held captive in an underground prisonImage: Getty Images/AFP

German court charges Syrian doctor with torture, murder

July 28, 2021

A Syrian doctor living in Germany stands accused of committing crimes against humanity, including torture and murder during his time working at a military hospital.

https://p.dw.com/p/3yBMh

German federal prosecutors on Wednesday charged a Syrian man with murder and crimes against humanity.

The suspect was allegedly involved in torture while working as a doctor in Syrian institutions.

He came to Germany in 2015 and practiced medicine before he was arrested on June 19, 2020.

State-sanctioned Torture on Trial

What are the charges in detail?

The doctor was initially charged with two counts of torturing detainees at a prison in the Syrian city of Homs in 2011.

He has now been charged with a string of additional crimes, including 18 counts of torture at military hospitals in Homs and the Syrian capital, Damascus.

These include allegations that the doctor:

  • beat a prisoner, pouring flammable liquid on his wounds before setting them on fire, and kicking him in the face breaking three of his teeth;
  • administered a lethal injection to a prisoner who tried to resist being beaten;
  • set fire to the genitals of a teenager;
  • tortured a detainee who was suffering from epilepsy by punching him in the face, hitting him with a plastic pipe, and kicking him in the head.

The two military hospitals in Homs and Damascus held opponents of the Syrian regime.

Prosecutors said that after the beginning of the uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad in 2011, protesters were frequently arrested and tortured.

Injured civilians who were thought to be members of the opposition were also taken to military hospitals where they were tortured and even killed.

How Germany is cracking down on alleged abuse in Syria

In February this year, a German court convicted a former Syrian intelligence service agent for complicity in crimes against humanity in the first court case worldwide over state-sponsored torture by Assad's government.

Eyad al-Gharib, 44, was sentenced to four and a half years in prison over his role in helping arrest at least 30 protesters in the Syrian city of Duma in 2011 and delivering them to the Al-Khatib detention center in Damascus where they were tortured.

Syria's civil war has killed more than 380,000 people and displaced nearly half the country's pre-conflict population.

Germany has taken in more than 700,000 Syrian refugees since the start of the conflict.

Who kidnapped Razan Zaitouneh?

on/rt (AFP, AP, dpa)

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