Former member of Al-Quds Brigade gets 12-year prison sentence in the Netherlands
The Dutch judiciary today, January 22, sentenced a former member of Al-Quds Brigade (Liwa Al-Quds), formed in 2011 in Syria, to 12 years in prison for his involvement in war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria.
Syrian human rights activist Mansour al-Omari explained that The Hague’s District Court sentenced Mustafa al-Dahoudi to 12 years in prison after convicting him of committing war crimes in Syria.
According to al-Omari, this case, along with the case filed by the Netherlands and Canada in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against the Syrian regime over the state’s practice of torture, represents another step toward achieving justice for victims of arrest, disappearance, and torture during detention.
On October 31, 2023, the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM) stated that a member of the Al-Quds Brigade would stand trial in Dutch courts amid several European trials of those accused of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria.
What’s the case?
Based on the filed complaint, the International Crimes Team of the Dutch police in Kerkrade city arrested the suspect—a 34-year-old Syrian-Palestinian—on May 24, 2022, and referred him to the investigating judge on charges related to the suspicion of his involvement in war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria over the past years.
According to the SCM, the complaint file included a group of evidence proving the suspect’s involvement in violations that amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, noting the existence of five witness testimonies, three of whom were direct victims of the suspect’s crimes.
The file also contained lists of victims who had been documented in violation documentation databases, as well as investigative investigations prepared by the SCM’s litigation team and a collection of visual evidence and information from open sources, according to the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression.
Tareq Hokan, the Director of the Strategic Litigation project at the SCM, indicated that the litigation team began investigating the suspect’s file in June 2020 after receiving news of his arrival in the Netherlands and his submission of an asylum request.
The Dutch police issued a statement, announcing the arrest of the accused, referring to his work with the Al-Quds Brigade in Syria, which was formed in 2013, and his close collaboration with the intelligence apparatus and Russian forces.
According to the statement, it is possible to categorize Al-Quds Brigade as an international terrorist organization with the objective of committing international crimes, similar to the Islamic State organization, which was previously placed in the same category.
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