Germany: Arrest of Hezbollah suspect charged with war crimes in Syria

A member of Hezbollah in Syria (Reuters)

A member of Hezbollah in Syria (Reuters)

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A suspected member of the Lebanese Hezbollah has been arrested by the German public prosecutor’s office on charges of committing crimes against humanity and war crimes in Syria.

According to a statement released by the Federal German Attorney General’s website on Wednesday, December 13, the arrest was made based on an arrest warrant issued by the investigating judge at the Federal Court of Justice on November 27.

The criminal police in the state of Baden-Württemberg in the German area of Rhine-Neckar arrested the Syrian suspect, Ammar A., who is strongly suspected of participating in the commission of crimes against humanity through torture and deprivation of liberty, as well as war crimes against individuals in Syria.

Since the end of April 2011, the Syrian regime has been using “brutal force” against its critics in order to suppress the protest movement, employing security forces to terrorize the population, as stated by the Federal German Attorney General’s website.

Tensions escalated in Syria in early 2012 with armed clashes involving opposition factions against the regime forces, with various militias, including Hezbollah, joining the latter.

Ammar A. was a member of Hezbollah in the city of Busra al-Sham in Daraa governorate between 2012 and 2013. In August 2012, he and other Hezbollah members stormed the homes of civilians in Busra al-Sham, stealing many of their belongings. The group then set fire to the houses under the orders of the accused, according to the statement.

During the incident, the residents of the houses were physically harmed, and one person died from gunshot wounds.

In April 2013, Ammar A. was arrested along with other members of Hezbollah, beating the victims several times with rifles before handing them over to military intelligence agents in another city, along with two other individuals. The military intelligence agents then subjected the three victims to further “severe” physical abuse in the presence of the accused before detaining them in a prison under the authority of the intelligence agency.

The accused appeared before the investigating judge at the Federal Court of Justice on Wednesday, and an arrest warrant was issued against him, along with an order for pretrial detention, according to the statement.

Trial of Al-Quds Brigade in the Netherlands

One of the members of the Al-Quds Brigade is facing trial before the Dutch judiciary for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria.

Mustafa A. (35 years old) is accused of committing war crimes and other crimes against humanity by arresting at least two individuals and handing them over to the Air Intelligence of the Syrian regime.

This is the first trial in the Netherlands for war crimes involving a suspect accused of fighting alongside the Syrian regime.

According to the prosecution, Mustafa was a senior member of the Al-Quds Brigade (a militia primarily composed of Palestinian refugees living in Syria, founded during the early years of the 12-year Syrian war).

The accused insisted on his right to remain silent despite being questioned several times about his response to the charges, the investigations conducted by the police, and intercepted phone calls.

According to the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM), the suspect was a militia leader in the Al-Quds Brigade and participated in raiding the homes of civilians and arresting them alongside joint patrols of the Military Security and the Air Intelligence. The civilians were then taken to the Al-Nairab airport prison and the military academy, where they were subjected to severe torture. Additionally, the suspect was involved in at least two violent arrests of civilians.

 

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