First Syria torture trial opens in Germany on Thursday
The first trial of suspected members of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s security services for crimes against humanity, including torture and sexual assault, starts in Germany on Thursday.
Campaigners have hailed the process as a first step towards justice for thousands of Syrians who say they were tortured in government facilities after attempts to establish an international tribunal for Syria failed. “Arbitrary arrests and torture are the main weapons used by the Assad regime to spread fear among Syrians and suppress their demands for democracy and justice,” said human rights lawyer Anwar al-Bunni, who says he was held at a jail near Damascus by the main suspect to be tried in the German city of Koblenz. “This trial will break the immunity of the criminals in Syria, from the head of the regime all the way down.”
Syria’s government has regularly rejected reports of torture and extrajudicial killings in a civil war in which hundreds of thousands of people have been killed. Assad himself has in the past denied such accusations against the security apparatus. 22 April 2020