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Top German court upholds Syrian's conviction

May 3, 2022

A top German court has quashed an appeal by an ex-member of Syria's secret police convicted on torture-related charges. His conviction on charges of being an accessory to crimes against humanity was a landmark verdict.

The Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe
The Federal Court of Justice or Bundesgerichtshof in Karslruhe is Germany's highest court of civil and criminal jurisdictionImage: Christoph Schmidt/dpa/picture alliance

Germany's top criminal court said on Tuesday that it had turned down the appeal of a Syrian man convicted last year of facilitating the torture of prisoners as a member of Syria's secret police.

The Federal Court of Justice ruled that the verdict and prison sentence handed down by a court in the western German city of Koblenz in February 2021 contained no legal errors. Its decision means the man's conviction cannot be challenged further.

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What was the man convicted of?

The man, identified as Eyad A. under German privacy laws, was convicted of being an accessory to crimes against humanity and sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison by the court in Koblenz.

He was found guilty of having been involved in the transport of 30 people arrested during peaceful anti-government protests in 2011 to a prison where they were subjected to inhumane treatment and torture.

The verdict was the first time that a court outside of Syria had ruled in a case where Syrian government officials were accused of committing crimes against humanity.

 A.'s testimony was key in the later conviction of a second Syrian ex-official, who received a life sentence from the Koblenz court in January for involvement in the torture of 4,000 people and the death of at least 27 other prisoners.

The crimes were carried out amid a massive clampdown on dissent by the regime of President Bashar Assad.

tj/nm (dpa, epd, KNA)

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