Europe is chasing Assad’s torturers


More than 128,000 people are considered missing in the prisons of the Syrian intelligence apparatus. Thousands were tortured to death. Europe now wants to pull the torturers accountable.

Watch the Video


Germany: the hunt for Assad’s torturers











Germany: the hunt for Assad’s torturers

More than 1.2 million secret documents from the Syrian security apparatus are now in the hands of non-governmental organizations from the West. They come from the offices of the security services, which have been controlled during the war, at times by the Syrian Opposition. Non-governmental organizations have smuggled them out of Syria. The Washington-based “Syrian centre for Justice and responsibility” (Syria Justice and Accountability Centre, SJAC) has now published for the first time, an analysis of its documents, tracing how the political responsibility for the torture with the beginning of the government reaches critical protests of 2011 in the Syrian state.

Mohammad Al Abdallah

“For the first time in the history of Syria are now published documents by the entanglements of the highest levels of the Syrian government to prove,” says SJAC-Director, Mohammad Al Abdallah. His organization has more than 480,000 pages from the Syrian security apparatus, the analysis in the report published on Tuesday “Walls Have Ears” (“walls have ears”) is included. Most of them were from 2013, from Tabka and Al Rakka and 2015 from Idlib, after the Syrian security forces had been expelled from there.

List of names for the prosecution of opponents of the regime

The study shows the “decision-making processes of the Syrian secret service departments, serious violations of human rights, but also the extent of how these secret services in every area of daily life intervene in Syria,” – said in the report, which also shows how the Syrian intelligence created services of 2011 lists with names of opponents of the regime. In a Letter dated 13. In June 2011, the Director of the political secret service of all the Department heads asks, “to deliver within 24 hours” all the information about the respective protagonists of the Anti-Assad protests. Many were arrested and finally tortured. This is also confirmed by the more than 26,000 images that could smuggle a former Syrian photographer of the military police, with the help of the French from Syria and the police investigators and state prosecutors ‘ offices in several European countries as a calculation basis – including those in Germany.

Secret files from Syria have been smuggled to the West

The evidence for an indictment against Assad

The most extensive documentation on your guard however, Europe-based Foundation, of which only rarely a little of the Public penetrates The in the Netherlands registered with the “Commission for international justice and accountability” (Commission for International Justice and Accountability), has smuggled in after the beginning of the Syria war more than 800,000 of secret documents from Syria, the several dozen analysts check since criminally relevant actions – financially supported by several European governments, including the UK and Germany.

The former UN Prosecutor William Wiley in front of the Syrian secret files

On the Desk of Foundation Director William Wiley is an organization chart that his investigators made have: chain-of-command of the four Syrian intelligence services and its departments in cities and provinces of the country up to the so-called “Central crisis management cell” (“Central Crisis Management Cell”), the socialist Baath party of Syria has been set up for was to the uprisings in the country to fight. It is headed: President Bashar al-Assad. Wiley was formerly a UN Prosecutor at the international criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the Rwanda-Tribunal in The Hague. As he was investigating the former leader of the Bosnian Serbs, Radovan Karadzic, because of the siege of the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, there were no documents. This is different today. Wiley refers to a Protocol of the Meeting of the “Central Management cell” of 5. In August 2011, after the state tip “daily raids against organizers of protests” ordered against “those who harm the Image of Syria in foreign media”.

Organigram of the Syrian secret services

Command to the persecution of the Opposition

If you want to understand how the thousands of victims of torture came to death in Syria, should begin “with this document,” said Wiley in an interview with Deutsche Welle. “In many cases it was ordinary people, which were not known even politically engaged but maybe someone who has used politically for the Opposition.” The former UN investigator is convinced that the documents be sufficient to ensure that President Assad brought before an international court for crimes against humanity bring to go then, if Assad is asked by his allies, into exile. “We have examples of Laurent Gbabgo, the former President of the ivory coast, stepped back and ended up in The Hague. Or Charles Taylor: former President of Liberia migrated directly from the exile to the prison.”

He believe that the Syrian President Assad a similar fate flourish: “The evidence of the complicity of President Assad of heinous war crimes and crimes against humanity is unquestionable.” In the case of a prosecution it would depend on the documents from the Syrian security apparatus. Already, they serve as the basis for multiple charges in Europe for crimes against humanity. In France, police officers arrested at the beginning of the year, a former secret service employee, Germany, two more, including Anwar R. in Berlin, sitting since then in custody. The Federal Prosecutor accuses the man to be the head of a secret service Department in Damascus for torture responsible. In an interview with Deutsche Welle, Wiley said that in Europe, the investigative authorities calculated against the “ten to twelve similar high-level Managers such as Anwar R.”. And: “There could be more in Europe. Certainly much more outside of Syria. In Turkey or anywhere else in the Middle East.” He is convinced that it will be in the next few years, more and more lawsuits in Europe against the perpetrators of the Syrian torture regime.