March 2, 2021


Syrian officer: German court convicted a former Syrian officer. The German court had the power to do so because the officer committed crimes against humanity. This was a first-of-its-kind trial in Germany.

The Conviction

Eyad al-Gharib was a former intelligence officer in the Syrian government. He is currently 44 years of age and was just sentenced to four and a half years in prison. The court case took place in Koblenz, Germany and the official charge was for crimes against humanity.

Gharib facilitated the transportation of 30 imprisoned demonstrators. He was convicted because he knew that these individuals were being tortured when they were jailed.

Gharib was also accused of beating prisoners as they were being transported to prison following their demonstrations.

The Arrest

Eyad al-Gharib was arrested in Berlin, Germany, in February 2019. He was taken into custody alongside former senior regime officer Colonel Anwar Raslan.

Raslan was a higher-ranking officer in the Syrian regime than Gharib. Gharib and Raslan have not been members of the Syrian government since 2012.

These two were allowed to be arrested in Germany because of universal jurisdiction. This principle gives all countries the ability to handle criminals over crimes that break international law. It does not matter where the crimes are committed if they violate universal regulations.

Raslan has still not been convicted, but Gharib’s sentence signifies that a punishment is coming for the former senior regime officer in the near future. His penalty is expected to be much more severe than the one dealt to Gharib on Wednesday.

Raslan directly oversaw the torture of 4,000 prisoners during the Syrian revolts. Fifty-eight of the prisoners died from the suffering inflicted by the regime. Raslan is also accused of rape with one of the prisoners.

Response from the Syrian Regime

Gharib and Raslan are not the first two cases under the current Syrian regime where torture has been identified. Uprisings have been occurring throughout the country for the past decade because of anger with President Bashar al-Assad.

Assad is known for abusing people who stand up to his authority. The Syrian government has denied all allegations of torture. Following Gharib’s sentence, they claimed that they only target terrorists and stay away from peaceful demonstrators.

The prosecutors used video evidence to prove Gharib’s guilt in the monumental decision. Commission for International Justice and Accountability Director Nerma Jelacic was pleased following the German court’s decision to sentence Eyad al-Gharib.

She stated, “This is a historic verdict. “Not only because it is the first to convict a Syrian regime official for crimes against humanity, but also because it recognizes his crimes were part of a widespread and systematic attack orchestrated by the highest bodies of Assad’s regime.”

Jelacic also indicated that more of these cases highlighting Syria’s abuse would be forthcoming. The Commission for International Justice and Accountability has been investigating the Syrian government’s abusive tactics since 2012.

The Syrian government is aware and has been doing its best to hide evidence to keep workers protected from their violent crimes.

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