Syria torture trial before the Higher Regional Court in Koblenz, Germany

Anwar R tries to downplay his role in the torture of 4000 people


بيان صحفي

محاكمة التعذيب في سوريا أمام المحكمة الإقليمية العليا في كوبلنز بألمانيا

يحاول أنور.ر، التقليل من دوره في تعذيب 4000 شخص

– Anwar R, the main defendant in the al-Khatib trial, the first trial worldwide about state torture in Syria, issued a statement today at the Higher Regional Court in Koblenz, Germany.

“Anwar R is obviously trying to downplay his role by saying he obeyed orders and that Subdivision 40, led by Hafez Makhlouf, exercised the factual power in the al-Khatib detention center. That is common practice in such trials. But he allegedly issued, not merely received and followed, orders in his department. We do not believe he played a minor role,” said Wolfgang Kaleck, general secretary of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), after today’s court hearing.

As head of investigations in the al-Khatib prison, Anwar R is charged with being an accomplice in torturing at least 4000 people, murdering 58 people, as well as rape and aggravated sexual assault. ECCHR supports 17 survivors in the proceedings, seven of whom are joint plaintiffs and represented by ECCHR partner lawyers.

With his statement, Anwar R seemed to say that his role was of little importance, which is not supported by the evidence. “He was a career officer who made his career in Assad’s government even before 2011,” said Kaleck. According to the indictment, he participated in torture for nearly a year and a half.

If the evidence proves to be correct, this means Anwar R did not commit the crime of torture by chance.

When it comes to deciding on the severity of the sentence, the court will consider aspects such as Anwar R’s behavior after the crimes were committed. As a human rights organization that challenges impunity of gross human rights violations, ECCHR is committed to the principle of fair trials. This includes the accused’s right to comment on the indictment, and explain their actions if they so choose.

Our work on the Koblenz trial is embedded in a series of criminal complaints about torture in Syria that ECCHR and more than 50 Syrians, including torture survivors and their relatives, activists and lawyers, filed in Germany, Austria, Sweden and Norway starting in 2016.

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Who we are

To counter injustice with legal interventions – this is the aim and daily work of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights.

ECCHR is an independent, non-profit legal and educational organization dedicated to enforcing civil and human rights worldwide. It was founded in 2007 by Wolfgang Kaleck and other international human rights lawyers to protect and enforce the rights guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as other human rights declarations and national constitutions, through legal means.

Together with those affected and partners worldwide, ECCHR uses legal means to end impunity for those responsible for torture, war crimes, sexual and gender-based violence, corporate exploitation and fortressed borders.

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Philipp Jedamzik
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