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Syrian colonel guilty of crimes against humanity

Syria's civil war

A German court has sentenced a Syrian colonel to life in prison for crimes against humanity in a landmark case.

BBC reports that Anwar Raslan, 58, was linked to the torture of over 4,000 people in Syria’s civil war in a jail known as “Hell on Earth”.

The trial in Koblenz is the world’s first criminal case brought over state-led torture in Syria.

At the heart of it, Raslan was accused of being a high-ranking security service officer under President Bashar al-Assad as mass anti-government protests were violently crushed in 2011.

Many protesters and others suspected of opposing the regime were rounded up and detained in the Al-Khatib facility in Damascus where, prosecutors say, Mr Raslan directed operations.

He was charged with 58 murders as well as rape and sexual assault, and the torture of at least 4,000 people held there between 2011 and 2012.

The ruling was significant, especially for those who survived Al-Khatib and gave evidence during the trial.

The criminal court has now formally acknowledged that crimes against humanity were perpetrated by the Assad regime against its own citizens.