"If you didn't know which serious crimes Anwar R. was accused of, he would hardly notice you. A thin pair of glasses, dark sweater, gray mustache, shaved head. So inconspicuously, the 57-year-old takes a seat on the dock in Koblenz on Thursday morning.As if nothing were happening, he looked straight ahead, not hiding his face - neither from the hasty click of the cameras nor from the first glances of the five Syrians sitting a few meters away from him in the middle of the hall. You, the co-plaintiffs, have been waiting for this moment for years: at last the man is on trial, who is supposed to be responsible for her torture, for her agony during hell during Syrian imprisonment.Until the end of 2012, Anwar R. headed the prison of Department 251 of the General Secret Service in Damascus, according to the prosecutor's charge (GBA). She was notorious for particularly brutal torture by opposition figures protesting against the Syrian government across the country.Anwar R. ordered at least 4,000 people to be tortured and 58 prisoners murdered in the multi-storey prison on Baghdad Street. He is on trial for crimes against humanity."The killings and tortures were carried out at his responsibility," emphasized the chief prosecutor on Thursday when reading the indictment.But the importance of the trial of Anwar R. and Eyad A. - the second defendant - goes far beyond these crimes. For the first time in the world, two suspected minions of Bashar al-Assad have to stand trial. Representatives of a state torture system in several Syrian prisons that have been proven to have killed more than 14,000 people. Probably there were significantly more.There are two central reasons why some of these crimes are now being prosecuted for the first time, and in Germany. For one thing, the United Nations has so far been unable to agree on any form of international prosecution of the Syrian state torture. On the other hand, since an amendment to the law in 2002, German prosecutors have been able to investigate across national borders, provided that genocide or other international law crimes are being prosecuted.Also because this process is so important for survivors of the state torture, the Koblenz Higher Regional Court held on to it despite the coronavirus crisis. With some restrictions: Due to the current ban on contacts, only 14 seats were available in the hall for media representatives. More than 70 reporters from all over the world had been accredited. Those who arrived too late were unlucky on Thursday.Already at 6.30 a.m. a line formed in front of the court. Survivors from other torture prisons in Syria were among those waiting. For example Khaled Rawas, 30, ex-detainee in the prison of the 215 department. He had traveled from northern Germany for the process for seven hours. He finally hoped for a piece of justice, Rawas said in an interview with WELT, nothing more was possible: "Nothing can do these deeds, nothing can make up for our torments."Experts from the GBA's International Criminal Law Unit heard more than 60 witnesses, including many victims of torture, for the trial. Some had already been reported in advance about the brutal torture system under the accused Anwar R. - and yet the almost 60 minutes long descriptions by the two senior lawyers were shocking.Prison 251 was, after all that survivors report in unison, hell on earth. Guards obligatorily greeted new inmates with a "welcome torture". In the days and weeks after that, things usually continued. Every two or three days, sometimes every day, officials dragged inmates into the torture rooms.There were blows waiting for bare soles, electric shocks, sexual violence or even the threat of ill-treatment of close relatives. The chief prosecutor called the hygienic conditions in the prison "catastrophic". A maximum of one toilet per day was allowed, the cells were so crowded that inmates could only stand.The victims were people like Ali Ibrahim A., who was electrocuted when he was sent to prison in 2011. Or Hussein G., arrested in October 2011, whose bare soles were beaten with a belt. So strong, so often, that the feet swelled.Anwar R. is said to have personally ordered another prisoner to torture him until he was "rare": According to the GBA, the prisoner was tied up in a cell with cable ties for three days, standing up. When her victim fell asleep, guards poured water over his head. The cable ties cut off the occupants' hands so massively that they can no longer grip properly.According to investigators, Anwar R. also accepted the deaths of the prisoners "approvingly" from the torture. It is undisputed that he saw what was happening in his facility. R. had his office in the hallway where torture was, he could not hear the cries of the victims. Eyad A., the second defendant, is considered part of a clearance squad that hunted down activists in the streets and took them to Anwar R.'s torture prison on buses.Anwar R. and Eyad A. came to Germany as help seekers after their time in torture jail: A. applied for asylum. At his hearing, he is said to have talked about his head and collar by speaking openly about the torture crimes. R. received a visa for Germany through the German embassy in Amman. He also betrayed himself. Since he felt persecuted here, he went to a police station. There, officials were made aware of his alleged crimes in Syria.The process in Koblenz continues on Friday. It will last for months. Given the extensive evidence, it would come as no surprise if Anwar R. were given a life sentence."
Freitag, 24. April 2020
Start of the trial agains Anwar Raslan
German newspaper Welt relates the first day of the trial against Anwar Raslan and Eyad Al-Gharib on the Higher District Court of Koblenz: