Syrian suspected of torture at prison arrested in Germany

BERLIN (AP) — A Syrian man accused of torturing an inmate while working as a doctor at a prison run by military intelligence in his homeland has been arrested in Germany, prosecutors said Monday.

The suspect, identified only as Alaa M. in line with German privacy rules, was arrested in the central state of Hesse on Friday, federal prosecutors said. He is suspected of bodily harm and committing a crime against humanity.

The case relates to M.’s alleged actions at a prison in the Syrian city of Homs in late 2011, when a doctor was called as a man arrested for taking part in a demonstration suffered an epileptic fit after being tortured, according to a statement from prosecutors.

The suspect beat the man with a plastic pipe and then kicked him after he fell to the ground, they said. After the victim’s condition worsened the following day, the suspect is accused of joining another prison doctor in beating the man again until he lost consciousness.

The victim was put in a blanket and carried away by prison guards. He later died, although the cause is unclear, prosecutors said.

The suspect left Syria in 2015 and came to Germany, where he has practised as a doctor.

Alaa M.’s arrest comes as two former members of Syria’s secret police are being tried at a court in the German citizen of Koblenz, accused of crimes against humanity for their role in a government-run detention center where thousands of opposition protesters were tortured.

Those proceedings, the first war crimes trial outside Syria linked to the country’s years-long conflict, have been described as a pivotal moment in the effort to bring Syrian officials accused of crimes to justice.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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