Germany's investigative police force (Bundeskriminalamt) has arrested two alleged former employees of the Syrian secret service suspected of having committed crimes against humanity while working for the intelligence service in Syria.
Federal prosecutors said the two men, 56-year-old Anwar R. and 42-year-old Eyad A., were arrested by federal police in Berlin and Rhineland-Palatinate state respectively. The arrest of the two men came after French authorities apprehended a third Syrian man near Paris.
Prosecutors said that Anwar R., a high-ranking member of Syria's General Intelligence Service, is accused of participating in the abuse of detainees at a prison he oversaw in Damascus.
As lead investigator, the man allegedly ordered the use of systematic and brutal torture on anti-government activists between the end of April 2011 and the beginning of September 2012.
Eyad A., prosecutors said, was part of a unit that arrested hundreds of activists and brought them to the prison run by the other suspect.
Between the beginning of July 2011 and mid-January 2012, Eyad A. is suspected of helping to kill two people and torture and physically abuse at least 2,000 people.
Both Anwar R. and Eyad A. left Syria in 2012, prosecutors said. Anwar R. has been in Germany since mid-2014 and Eyad A. since mid-2018. Both suspects applied for asylum in Germany.
Prosecutors said the Syrian regime has been using brutal force to suppress all opposition activities critical of the government throughout the country since April 2011, and the Syrian secret services played an essential role.
Editor's note: Deutsche Welle follows the German press code, which stresses the importance of protecting the privacy of suspected criminals or victims and obliges us to refrain from revealing full names in such cases.
dv,law/jm (AFP, dpa)