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German Court Issues Guilty Verdict in First Syria Torture Trial

KOBLENZ, Germany—A German court sentenced a former member of President Bashar al-Assad’s security services to 4-1/2 years in prison on Wednesday for facilitating the torture of civilians, the first such verdict for crimes against humanity in the 10-year-old Syrian civil war. The higher regional court in the western city of Koblenz said Eyad A. had arrested at least 30 anti-government protesters at the start of the conflict in 2011 and sent them to an intelligence facility where he knew detainees were tortured. The verdict gives hope to the 800,000 Syrians in Germany who say they were tortured in government facilities after attempts to establish an international tribunal for Syria failed. “This is an important step forward in the process of securing accountability for the Syrian government’s systematic use of torture against civilians,” said Steve Kostas, a lawyer with the Open Society Foundation’s Justice Initiative, which is representing Syrian plaintiffs. The …

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