Syrien - Folter - Norwegen

Norwegen: Syrische Folterüberlebende stellen Strafanzeige gegen Assads Geheimdiestchefs

Europas Rolle im Kampf gegen Straflosigkeit in Syrien

Syrien - Folter - Norwegen

Norwegen: Syrische Folterüberlebende stellen Strafanzeige gegen Assads Geheimdiestchefs

Europas Rolle im Kampf gegen Straflosigkeit in Syrien

Damit die Straflosigkeit für Staatsfolter in Syrien endlich ein Ende hat, haben im November 2019 fünf syrische Folterüberlebende Strafanzeige in Norwegen gestellt. Die Anzeige steht in einer Reihe mit Strafanzeigen gegen 17 hochrangige Beamte der Regierung von Syriens Präsident Baschar al-Assad, die andere Folterüberlebende seit 2017 in Deutschland, Österreich und Schweden eingereicht haben. Die Syrer*innen nutzen das Weltrechtsprinzip, um die syrischen Verantwortlichen für Folter und Verbrechen gegen die Menschlichkeit auch außerhalb Syriens vor Gericht zu bringen.

Die fünf Syrer*innen aus Norwegen stellten die Anzeige gemeinsam mit dem ECCHR, den syrischen Organisationen Syrian Center for Legal Studies and Research (SCLSR) Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM) und Caesar Files Group sowie der norwegischen Organisation Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC).

Fall

Verbrechen gegen die Menschlichkeit, Folter, Mord und Vergewaltigung – das sind einige der Verbrechen, die die fünf syrischen Betroffenen zwischen Mai 2011 und September 2013 selber erlebt oder mit angesehen haben. Weil diese Verbrechen in Syrien nicht aufgearbeitet werden, haben die Frauen und Männer die Verbrechen nun in Oslo angezeigt. Das Ziel: Die norwegischen Behörden sollen Ermittlungen einleiten und internationale Haftbefehle erlassen. Die Strafanzeige richtet sich gegen 17 hochrangige Beamte syrischer Geheimdienste und des Militärs, die an den Taten direkt beteiligt waren oder sie angeordnet haben. 

"Als ich aus Syrien floh, war ich verzweifelt. Doch jetzt bin ich voller Hoffnung: Mit dieser Strafanzeige gehen wir einen ersten Schritt auf dem langen Weg zur Gerechtigkeit. Wir legen auch in Norwegen einen wichtigen Grundstein für die Aufarbeitung der Verbrechen in Syrien, die sich noch über Generationen fortsetzen wird", sagt Zeugin 5. Genau wie die anderen vier Anzeigeerstatter*innen lebt sie seit einigen Jahren in Norwegen.

Die Anzeigeerstatter*innen wurden inhaftiert, weil sie sich beispielsweise an friedlichen Protesten gegen die Assad-Regierung beteiligt oder humanitäre Hilfe geleistet hatten. Während ihrer Inhaftierung wurden sie in insgesamt 14 verschiedenen Haftanstalten schwerer Folter ausgesetzt: Aufhängen an den Handgelenken an der Decke, Elektroschocks, Ausreißen der Fingernägel und Schläge mit Stöcken oder Plastikrohren.

Kontext

In Schweden, Deutschland, Frankreich, Österreich, und in anderen europäischen Ländern wird an der juristischen Aufarbeitung der schweren Verbrechen in Syrien gearbeitet – nun könnten auch die norwegische Behörden Ermittlungen aufnehmen.

In Deutschland wird voraussichtlich im Frühjahr 2020 das weltweit erste Verfahren zu Staatsfolter in Syrien eröffnet. Syrische Folterüberlebende, mit denen das ECCHR eng zusammenarbeitet, werden dem Verfahren als Nebenkläger beitreten. Außerdem trugen Zeug*innen aus vergleichbaren Strafanzeigen sowie Fotos und Dokumente der Caesar Files Group im Juni 2018 entscheidend zu einem internationalen Haftbefehl gegen Jamil Hassan, bis Juli 2017 Chef des syrischen Luftwaffengeheimdienstes, bei.

Personen

Kurzportraits der Anzeigeerstatter*innen

In April 2012, Witness 1 (W1) was detained at age 22 for a total of seven months. He was knocked unconscious and taken to the Damascus "Section 40" prison. W1 was accused of instigating violence and civil disobedience. He was subjected to various forms of torture, including electric shocks, flogging, and a torturing device called the German chair – a metal chair that stretches and puts severe stress on the neck, back and limbs, sometimes causing permanent damage.

W1 was later transferred to Syrian General Intelligence Directorate Branch 251, where he stayed for four weeks, and then to Branch 248. In both branches, he was held in solitary confinement. During interrogation sessions, he was regularly tortured – beaten on the soles of his feet, dulab (forced into a vehicle tire that is often then hoisted up, and beaten on the feet or elsewhere on the body with fists, sticks, whips or cables) and shabeh (being suspended by his wrists for hours or days). 

W1 was later transferred to the Al-Qabun military court, to the Hamadi civil court in Damascus, and subsequently to Adra prison, where he was released in November 2012. W1 has lived in Norway since 2014.

Witness 4 (W4) was arrested at age 25 in July 2011. He and a friend, who had been previously detained, attended demonstrations and publicly spoke out against the Syrian government. Syrian General Intelligence agents came to W4's house and asked him to accompany them. When he arrived at the General Intelligence Branch 322 in Aleppo, he handed over his belongings, was taken to an interrogation room where he was screamed at and hit several times with a stick, and accused of participating in illegal demonstrations, insulting the reputation of the state, and being involved with a religious leader in Saudi Arabia.

After one day, W4 was transferred to Criminal Security in Aleppo, where he was forced to stay in a 5x4 meter overcrowded, underground cell. There was not enough space for all detainees to sit down or sleep. There was hardly any fresh air; and detainees were reluctant to eat the food they were given, as they all had to use the cell’s one toilet.

During his six days in detention, W4 endured daily interrogation and torture sessions. He was usually handcuffed, forced to kneel, and then, for example, beaten with a stick on the soles of his feet. W4 was then brought before a judge in Aleppo. He was subsequently taken to Aleppo's central prison and released 11 days later. He was arrested a second time in November 2011, but only for several hours.
W4 left Syria in September 2013 and arrived in Norway in March 2014.

Witness 5 (W5) is 55 years old and was detained three times between November 2011 and early 2013. She owned a gym in Damascus and organized humanitarian aid with friends, especially for children suffering from the Syrian conflict. W5 was first arrested at a meeting of her humanitarian support group, together with four friends. People entered the office, put black bags over the five women's heads and took them to a detention facility.

The women stayed in an underground 3x4 meter cell, together with about 20 other women, for around 20 days. There was not enough space for everyone to sleep. There was no toilet in the cell; the women were given two bathroom breaks per day. Food was insufficient and of poor quality. Even though there was medicine available, they were denied medical treatment. Every day, W5 was brought to one of two interrogation rooms for an interrogation and torture session, including having her fingernails pulled out, flogging and shabeh. W5 saw one of her friends who was detained with her die from torture. Her body was thrown into W5's cell for an entire day.

W5 was transferred to four other detention facilities. After being tortured daily in the first two facilities, she was subsequently treated less violently due to her poor physical condition. Prison conditions were extremely poor. Despite being sick and injured, W5 was denied the medication she was carrying with her when she was detained. Her last detention was in Damascus Central Prison, where she was reunited with the three living friends who were arrested with her. W5 was released on a court order in February or March 2012.

W5 was arrested for the second time in early summer 2012, when she was called to the Criminal Intelligence Branch in Damascus under the pretext of having to sign documents for her acquittal. She was released two months later. In November 2012, she was arrested for the third time. Officers entered her house claiming they wanted to search it. They then blindfolded and detained her. She was held for three months without physical abuse.

W5 left Syria in April 2013 and arrived in Norway in December 2015.