A Syrian doctor suspected of torturing people to death is to be prosecuted in Germany, where he had managed to work as a doctor treating patients for five years before he was discovered.
Alaa Moussa is set to appear before the State Protection Senate of the Higher Regional Court in Frankfurt tomorrow (Wednesday, 19th January).
The federal prosecutor’s office accuses the 36-year-old doctor of having tortured prisoners in an army hospital and a secret services prison in the Syrian city of Homs in 2011 and 2012.
He is said to have caused his victims, who are believed to have been opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, serious physical and mental harm. In one case, according to the indictment, he intentionally killed a prisoner with an injection.
He is also believed to have beaten another detainee unconscious with a plastic pipe, with the victim dying shortly afterwards. And in another case, he is believed to have poured alcohol over the genitals of a boy aged 14 or 15 and set it alight.
According to the prosecution, the suspect had been practising medicine since he entered Germany in mid-2015. He was arrested in June 2020 and has been in custody ever since.
The trial is expected to be complex and is set to last for 14 days. It will involve eight judges from the Higher Regional Court, five judges from the State Protection Senate, and three supplementary judges.
The defendant will be tried for murder, 18 counts of torture, inflicting grievous bodily and mental harm, seven counts of severe deprivation of physical liberty (leading to death in one case), and deprivation of reproductive capacity.
All charges against the defendant are characterised as crimes against humanity.
The trial comes hot off the heels of the world’s first criminal trial into state torture in Syria, which came to an end before the Koblenz Higher Regional Court on 13th January.
It saw Syrian Anwar R. sentenced to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity in a verdict that is not yet legally binding.