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Germany arrests Syrian regime intelligence officers over suspected war crimes links

The marks of torture on the back of a Syrian man [AFP/GettyImages]

Date of publication: 13 February, 2019

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Two ex-members of the Syrian intelligence services have been arrested in Germany for aiding crimes against humanity.
German authorities have arrested two suspected former members of Syria’s secret police in a ground breaking development for Western law enforcement.

The two men were arrested Tuesday morning in Zweibrücken and Berlin on allegations of carrying out or aiding crimes against humanity.

This follows several years of German investigation into crimes committed by the Syrian regime.

The suspects were identified as 56-year old Anwar R., a high-ranking member of Syria's General Intelligence Directorate (Mukhabarat) and 42-year old Eyad A., a member of a unit that operated a checkpoint in the Damascus region. The men's surnames weren't published, in line with German privacy rules.

An alleged subordinate of Anwar R. was arrested in France as part of a joint investigation.

German prosecutors said Anwar R. is accused of participating in the abuse of detainees at a prison he oversaw between April 2011 and September 2012. He allegedly ordered the use of torture during the interrogation of anti-government activists.

Eyad A. is accused of assisting in the killing of two people and the torture of 2000 people between July 2011 and January 2012.

Eyad operated a checkpoint where approximately 100 people were arrested every day and then taken to the prison overseen by Anwar R., where they were almost definitely tortured.

The charges are based on the witness statements of six survivors of torture that implicated the former intelligence officers.

The two men left Syria in 2012. It is unclear how they made it to Germany.

The brutal torture committed by the Syrian security services was one of the reasons for anti-government protests that led to the outbreak of the country’s civil war eight years ago.   

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