Germany charges Syrian doctor with crimes against humanity

BERLIN — A Syrian doctor has been charged in Germany with crimes against humanity for allegedly torturing folks in navy hospitals in his homeland and killing considered one of them, German federal prosecutors mentioned Wednesday.

The Federal Prosecutor’s Office in Karlsruhe mentioned in a press release that Alla Mousa, who got here to Germany in 2015 and practiced drugs earlier than he was arrested final 12 months, is accused of 18 counts of torturing folks in navy hospitals within the Syrian cities of Homs and Damascus. The allegations embody charges that Mousa tried to make folks infertile.

A federal indictment charged him with homicide, extreme bodily hurt, tried bodily hurt and harmful bodily hurt, the assertion mentioned.

Prosecutors mentioned after the start of the opposition rebellion against Syrian President Bashar Assad in 2011, protesters had been often arrested and tortured. Injured civilians who had been regarded as members of the opposition had been additionally taken to navy hospitals, the place they had been tortured and generally killed.

In February, a German courtroom convicted a former member of Assad’s secret police of facilitating the torture of prisoners in a landmark ruling that human rights activists mentioned would set a precedent for different instances within the decade-long battle.

Eyad Al-Gharib was convicted of accent to crimes against humanity and sentenced by the Koblenz state courtroom to 4 1/2 years in jail.

It was the primary time {that a} courtroom exterior Syria dominated in a case alleging Syrian authorities officers dedicated crimes against humanity. German prosecutors invoked the precept of common jurisdiction for critical crimes to convey the case that concerned victims and defendants in Germany.

In the present case, prosecutors accuse the Syrian doctor of getting poured alcohol over the genitals of a teenage boy and one other man and setting fireplace to them with a cigarette lighter at navy hospital No. 608 in Homs. He can be accused of torturing 9 extra folks in the identical hospital in 2011 by kicking and beating them.

general view of the historic Christian town of Maaloula, north of Damascus, Syria
Photo taken on July 26, 2021 reveals a common view of the historic Christian city of Maaloula, north of Damascus, Syria.
Ammar Safarjalani/Xinhua by way of Getty Images

The indictment additionally alleges that Mousa kicked and beat a jailed man who was struggling an epileptic seizure. Just a few days later, the doctor gave the person a medicine and he subsequently died with out the precise reason for loss of life ever clearly being recognized, German prosecutors mentioned.

The indictment lists different instances of alleged torture on the navy hospital in Homs, together with hanging folks from the ceiling and beating them with a plastic baton, and pouring flammable liquids over the hand of considered one of them and burning it. Mousa is also accused of kicking one other affected person’s open, contaminated wound, pouring disinfectant into it and setting it on fireplace.

In one case in 2012, Mousa allegedly beat and kicked an inmate severely. When the person defended himself by kicking again, Mousa beat him to the bottom with the assistance of a male nurse and shortly after administered a poisonous substance that killed the inmate, German prosecutors allege.

In addition to the torture allegations on the navy hospital in Homs, Mousa can be accused of abusing inmates on the navy hospital Mezzeh No. 601 in Damascus between late 2011 and March 2012.

The common secretary of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights lauded the indictment of Mousa.

“Grave crimes against Syria’s civil society are not only taking place in the detention centers of the intelligence services: Syria’s torture and extermination system is complex and only exists thanks to the support of a wide variety of actors,” Wolfgang Kaleck mentioned in a press release. “With the trial (of Mousa), the role of military hospitals and medical staff in this system could be addressed for the very first time.”

Kaleck additionally famous the trial is also vital by way of addressing sexual violence.

“Sexual violence is being used as a weapon — systematically and intentionally — against the opposition in Syria. Those affected not only suffer physical and psychological consequences but are also stigmatized and discriminated by society, ” Kaleck mentioned, including that Mousa’s trial “could make them seen and thus also send an important signal to the many survivors who have remained silent until now.”

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