France Charges Syrian Suspect with Crimes against Humanity

Saturday, 16 February, 2019 - 11:00
Asharq Al-Awsat

A Syrian suspect held in France has been preliminary charged with complicity in crimes against humanity.

A judicial official said Saturday the man is being held in custody pending further investigation, after being detained Tuesday near Paris as part of an international probe, reported The Associated Press.

The defendant is suspected of involvement in a bloody secret police crackdown on opposition activists during Syria’s uprising that erupted in 2011 before it evolved into a bloody war.

He was detained Tuesday near Paris as part of an international probe.

Two other suspects were detained in Germany on Tuesday, also suspected of carrying out or aiding crimes against humanity.

Prosecutors in Germany said that a 56-year-old high-ranking member of Syria's General Intelligence Directorate, identified only as Anwar R., is accused of participating in the abuse of detainees at a prison he oversaw in Damascus. As lead investigator, he allegedly ordered the use of systematic and brutal torture of anti-regime activists between July 2011 and January 2012.

According to prosecutors, the second man, Eyad A., aged 42, was part of a unit that arrested hundreds of activists and brought them to the prison run by the other suspect.

Both suspects had left Syria in 2012, the prosecutors added.

Human rights groups hailed the arrests.

They mark the first major breakthroughs of international investigators who are trying to track down individuals they think are responsible for atrocities committed on behalf of the Syrian regime during the country's eight-year war.

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