Syrian jailed for war crimes after landmark trial

A German court sentenced a former intelligence officer in Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's security services to life in prison on Thursday (January 13),

after convicting him of murder, rape and crimes against humanity.

The ruling was the second handed down at the landmark trial - at the higher regional court in the city of Koblenz.

Anwar R. was charged with carrying out 58 murders, rape and sexual assault at a prison facility in Damascus - supervised by an intelligence unit he headed.

He denied all charges.

Last year Eyad A., another former intelligence member, was handed 4-1/2 years in jail for abetting the torture of civilians.

This was the world's first criminal case brought over state-led torture during Syria's civil war, which began in 2011.

The Assad government denies it tortures prisoners.

Attempts to establish an international tribunal for Syria failed, so the verdict will give hope to many Syrians.

Yasmen Almashan lost five brothers in the conflict - one killed by security forces at a protest:

"I think that this trial is the smallest step we can take towards justice. Justice for us as family members of those forcibly disappeared, the detainees, the missing, our loved ones who were killed by the regime. Justice will be complete when we know their fate. When the dream, for which they protested in the first place, is realized - that Syria becomes a democracy, a state of justice, a state of equality."

Prosecutors secured the trial under Germany's universal jurisdiction laws, which allow courts to prosecute crimes against humanity committed anywhere in the world.

A Syrian doctor suspected of torturing prisoners at a military hospital in Homs goes on trial in Frankfurt next week.

German prosecutors also accuse him of murdering a prisoner by lethal injection.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting