Two former Syrian intelligence officers arrested in Germany

The chief prosecutor at the Federal Court of Justice in the city of Karlsruhe said on Wednesday there was suspicion of crimes against humanity.
Wednesday 13/02/2019
A German police officer stands in front of the new German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) headquarters, February 8, 2019.
A German police officer stands in front of the new German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) headquarters, February 8, 2019.

Germany has arrested a former department head in the Syrian intelligence service and one of his subordinates on suspicion of mass torture and the physical abuse of dissidents carried out by the spy agency.

The chief prosecutor at the Federal Court of Justice in the city of Karlsruhe said on Wednesday there was suspicion of crimes against humanity.

The 56 and 42-year-old Syrians were arrested on Tuesday in Berlin and the state of Rhineland Palatinate and are now in custody.

Both men belonged to a department of the secret service responsible for security in the area of the Syrian capital Damascus, according to the statement.

The elder man, identified under German privacy laws as Anwar R, is reported to have headed the investigative department with a jail attached to it.

In this capacity, he is suspected of ordering the use of systematic and brutal torture between April 2011 and September 2012, the statement said.

The second man, Eyad A, is said to have had the task at some point of identifying and arresting deserters, demonstrators and other suspects at a checkpoint.

About 100 people were arrested every day, taken to the prison headed by Anwar R and tortured there, the charges read.

Eyad A is therefore suspected of having assisted in the killing of two people and the torture and ill-treatment of at least 2,000
others.

According to the statement, both men left Syria in 2012. Another employee from Anwar R’s department was arrested on Tuesday in Paris by the prosecutor there. The arrests were coordinated.

(DPA)