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Trial begins in Frankfurt of Syrian doctor accused of torture

Trial begins in Frankfurt of 
Syrian doctor accused of torture

A Syrian doctor goes on trial for alleged torture in Frankfurt on Wednesday, in the latest attempt by German prosecutors to serve justice to the victims of state violence in the Syrian war.
Federal prosecutors accuse the man of carrying out crimes against humanity in Syria. He is alleged to have tortured prisoners in military hospitals in Homs and Damascus in 2011 and 2012, causing them severe physical and psychological harm.
“He abused detained civilians in these military hospitals as well as in the prison of Department 261 of the Syrian Military Intelligence in Homs,” the prosecution statement reads.
Alaa M, as the defendant is identified under German privacy laws, is alleged to have frequently attacked prisoners, leaving some with broken bones, and hit them with a plastic stick and
a baton.
In one incident, he doused a teenaged boy’s genitals with alcohol before setting them on fire, the prosecution claims.
According to the indictment, he also intentionally killed a prisoner by injecting him with a substance.
The victims are said to have belonged to the opposition against President Bashar al-Assad.
Alaa M came to Germany in 2015 and had practised as a doctor. He was arrested in June 2020 and has been in pre-trial detention since then.
Only last week, a former Syrian colonel was convicted of crimes against humanity committed in Syria and sentenced to life in prison by a German court in Koblenz.
The former intelligence officer was tried in Germany under the principle of universal jurisdiction, which allows the prosecution of possible war crimes committed by foreigners in other states.
In February 2021, the younger co-defendant in the trial was sentenced to four and a half years in prison for aiding and abetting a crime against humanity.