Germany Arrests Syrian Doctor for Crimes Against Humanity

  • Alaa M was arrested on Friday evening in the state of Hesse, as the Federal Prosecutor's statement in Karlsruhe explained.
  • The doctor left Syria in mid-2015 as a refugee to Germany, where he was practicing medicine.
  • The United States imposed its toughest sanctions to date on Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. 

A Syrian doctor, who was practicing his profession in Germany and entered the country as a refugee, was arrested on Friday. The suspect, known as Alaa M., is accused of involvement in torture and “crimes against humanity” he committed in his country against detainees in the prisons of the Assad regime.

The Syrian Civil War is an ongoing multi-sided civil war in Syria fought between the Ba’athist Syrian Arab Republic led by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, along with domestic and foreign allies, and various domestic and foreign forces opposing both the Syrian government and each other in varying combinations. The war is currently the second deadliest of the 21st century.

Alaa M was arrested on Friday evening in the state of Hesse, as the Federal Prosecutor’s statement in Karlsruhe explained. The statement added that the suspect was working as a doctor in a military intelligence prison, and he had participated in at least two cases in the torture of a detainee inside the military regime of the Assad regime.

The results of the investigations, according to the statement, also show that in 2011 the defendant beat a second detainee, who was suffering a seizure as a result of being tortured. The victim, who was arrested for participating in peaceful demonstrations against the Syrian regime, was killed. The German prosecutor’s statement confirmed that the cause of death remained unknown.

The doctor left Syria in mid-2015 as a refugee to Germany, where he was practicing medicine. The case adds to a series of ongoing cases and investigations in Germany and France against senior officials or officers of the Syrian regime on charges of “crimes against humanity,” including torture, rape, and sexual assaults.

The European Center for Constitutional Rights and Human Rights, a German non-governmental organization, announced last Thursday that seven Syrian refugees are victims of or witnesses to sexual assaults and rapes in detention camps of the Syrian regime. They filed a criminal complaint before the German courts.

Since the end of April, the trial of former Syrian intelligence officials for “crimes against humanity” has begun before the Koblenz Court. The matter concerns two former intelligence officers. The trial has been described as “historic,” as it is the first in the world regarding the violations that the Syrian regime is accused.

Sanctions on the Assad Regime

The Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act, also known as the Caesar Act, is a United States legislation that sanctions the Syrian government, including Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, for war crimes against the Syrian population. The bill has not been passed into law. Instead, parts of it were incorporated in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, making it unlikely that the original bill will be revisited.

Within the framework of the “Caesar Act” that came into effect on, June 17, the United States imposed its toughest sanctions to date on Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. The goal is to deprive his government of funding sources in an attempt to push it to return to the UN-led negotiations to end the ongoing war.

It is reported that the law caused the value of the Syrian pound to collapse even before its implementation. The Syrian Civil War has been ongoing for almost ten years.

The first group of sanctions targets 39 people or entities, including the Syrian President himself, and his wife, Asmaa. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described, with her family, as among the richest beneficiaries of the war.

The law provides for the freezing of any assets of targeted personalities in the United States. Also, any companies in the United States are punished, and Washington is prohibited from providing reconstruction aid.

While this is the first time that Asma’s names have been targeted with US sanctions, Washington has imposed sanctions on Bashar Al-Assad since he began quelling the protest movement launched against his regime in 2011.

Among the other figures targeted by the Caesar Act is prominent Syrian businessman Muhammad Hamsho. Sanctions also target the “Fatimid” battalion of Shiite Afghans led by Iran.

In a statement announcing to those targeted the sanctions imposed under the “Caesar Act” to protect civilians in Syria, Secretary Pompeo said that the new steps are the beginning of an ongoing campaign of economic and political pressure on Assad. He has promised more actions in the coming weeks.

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Doris Mkwaya

I am a journalist, with more than 12 years of experience as a reporter, author, editor, and journalism lecturer." I've worked as a reporter, editor and journalism lecturer, and am very enthusiastic about bringing what I've learned to this site.  

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