GERMANY: Assad executioner sentenced to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity in regime prisons

KOBLENZ, Germany  — A German court has convicted former Intelligence Officer of the Syrian Ba’ath regime Anwar R. for torture and several murders. The former Ba’athist Colonel was sentenced to life imprisonment. Anwar R. was convicted of atrocities after the start of the Syrian uprising in 2011 during his leadership of section 251, the intelligence branch in a prison in Daramsuq (Damascus).

In 2012, Anwar R. fled to Germany where he was recognized by a tortured Syrian activist. The German prosecutor accused Anwar R. of torturing more than 4,000 men, women, and children. Fifty-eight people lost their live after torture.

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Anwar R. worked for Syrian intelligence for over 20 years and ran multiple prisons for the regime. The prisons of the Syrian Ba’athist regime, in power for more than 50 years, are notorious for their systematic torture, rape, and sexual abuse of prisoners.

The trial and sentencing in Germany came about after the introduction of a German law allowing for the conviction of crimes against humanity committed in another country. The groundbreaking process is a breakthrough in international law. However, evidence gathering is difficult and witnesses are afraid of reprisals against them and their family. It is only the second conviction by a German court of war crimes in Syria’s decade-long war.