Germany Begins Trial of Syrian Doctor for Crimes Against Humanity


German prosecutors accused a Syrian doctor Wednesday of torturing detainees and killing one of them while working in military hospitals in his war-torn homeland, on the first day of a landmark crime against humanity trial in Frankfurt. The accused, identified as Alaa M under German privacy laws, arrived in Germany in 2015 where he continued to practice medicine until his arrest. The trial at Frankfurt’s higher regional court is the second of its kind in Germany and adds to other European efforts to hold loyalists of President Bashar al-Assad’s government to account for alleged war-era atrocities.

Alaa M has been charged with 18 counts of torture and one count of murder. The accused helped to perpetrate “a systematic attack on the civilian population,” said federal prosecutor Anna Zabeck as she read out the charge sheet. He “tortured detainees by inflicting substantial bodily harm on them,” she told the court. He has denied the allegations.

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