Syrian doctor accused in Germany of crimes against humanity

A Syrian doctor has been accused in Germany of crimes against humanity for allegedly torturing and killing people in military hospitals in his home country, prosecutors reported on Wednesday.

Karlsruhe’s Federal Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement that Alla Mousa, in Germany since 2015 and detained last year, was charged with 18 crimes of torture in military hospitals in the Syrian cities of Homs and Damascus, reported the Guardian. The charges include homicide and serious bodily injury.

According to prosecutors, after the start of opposition against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in 2011, protesters were frequently detained and tortured. Wounded civilians, considered members of the opposition, were taken to military hospitals, where they were tortured.

In February, a German court convicted a former member of Assad’s secret police for facilitating the torture of prisoners. Eyad Al-Gharib was sentenced to four and a half years in prison for complicity in crimes against humanity.

The Syrian doctor is accused of pouring alcohol over the genitals of two men, then setting fire to them. He is also accused of torturing nine other people in 2011 and of having beaten an inmate who was having a epileptic seizure. A few days later, he administered a drug to him, which died without the exact cause being determined.

The prosecution lists other cases of torture. Mousa is also accused of abusing inmates at the Mezzeh military hospital in Damascus between late 2011 and March 2012.

“Serious crimes against Syria’s civil society do not just happen in the detention centers of the intelligence services. The system of torture and extermination (…) is complex and only exists thanks to the support of a wide variety of actors”, said the secretary general of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, Wolfgang Kaleck.

“With the judgment [de Mousa], the role of military hospitals and medical teams in this system can be addressed for the first time,” he said, adding: “Sexual violence is being used as a weapon against opposition in Syria”.

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