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Human Rights: France: Syrian convicted of war crimes

Human Rights: France: Syrian convicted of war crimes

In Paris, high-ranking Syrian state officials were sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment for war crimes. An unprecedented court decision.

Three high-ranking Syrian intelligence officers have been sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia for aiding and abetting crimes against humanity and war crimes. The Paris Criminal Court also ordered that the arrest warrants be maintained.

The men are accused of being responsible for the deaths of two French citizens in Syria. The three accused, who were tried in absentia, are Ali Mamluk, Jamil Hassan and Abdel Salam Mahmud. Mamluk was director of the Syrian National Security Office. He was considered a close confidant and important advisor to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Hassan was head of the Syrian Air Force Intelligence Service until a few years ago. According to reports from Syrian victims, hundreds of suspected opponents of Assad were tortured and murdered during his time in office. Salam Mahmud, on the other hand, headed the investigation department of the Air Force Intelligence Service at an important military airport near Damascus.

A judgment with significance

Specifically, the case revolved around two French-Syrian citizens who, according to the public prosecutor’s office, were arrested by the Air Force Intelligence Service in Damascus in early November 2013. In August 2018, death certificates were handed over to their relatives. According to these, the men died in 2014 and 2017 without their relatives seeing the bodies.

According to witnesses, the two men were taken to an airport in Damascus, where thousands of opposition members were said to have been detained, tortured and killed.

According to the newspaper Le Figaro, lawyer Clémence Bectarte, who represented several co-plaintiffs in the case, said it was the first trial in which such high-ranking representatives of the Syrian regime were convicted of complicity in crimes against humanity. This is a verdict that is important for hundreds of thousands of Syrians who are still waiting for justice, she explained.

Source: Stern

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