Anwar Raslan |
Anwar Raslan (Arabic أنور رسلان, DMG Anwar Raslān; born February 3, 1963 in Homs) is a former Syrian police officer and colonel in the Syrian secret services. In 2020 he was charged with crimes against humanity in the course of his activities as chief investigator of the Syrian secret services at the Koblenz Higher Regional Court, found guilty in January 2022 and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Escape to Germany
Raslan defected to the Syrian opposition in 2012 during the Syrian civil war and then fled to Germany. There he applied for asylum and settled in Berlin with his family. Raslan believed in 2015 that henchmen of the Assad regime were after him. He filed a complaint with the police against strangers who had observed him. His statements ended up with the federal prosecutor's office in Karlsruhe, which, however, initiated proceedings against him. Accordingly, Raslan was not tracked down or accused; he believed that his change of sides had undone the previous deeds.
The indictment charged him with several thousand counts of torture and 58 counts of murder. The case was the first in the world in which a former civil servant under the government of Bashar al-Assad had to face trial.
Raslan was arrested in February 2019 and charged under the universal jurisdiction. More than 80 witnesses were summoned in the trial, which lasted 108 days. With the conviction in January 2022, the Higher Regional Court saw it as proven that Raslan, as chief of interrogations, was responsible for the torture of at least 4,000 people, of whom 30 prisoners did not survive.
In addition to crimes against humanity, Raslan was also convicted of multiple murders (27 counts), aggravated assault (25 counts), particularly serious rape, two counts of sexual assault, deprivation of liberty and hostage-taking. The verdict is not yet final. Raslan himself declared himself innocent during the trial. According to his own statement, he neither tortured nor gave an order to do so. He claimed to have arranged for the release of captured Arab Spring protesters. According to his own statements, he sympathized with the Syrian opposition and supported them after fleeing Syria. His defense had asked for an acquittal.
Torture during the Syrian Civil War
Jenny Hill: German court finds Syrian colonel guilty of crimes against humanity. BBC News (Video: Interview with torture victim Wassim Mukdad) January 13, 2022