Paris – Statement by the Syrian Network for Human Rights:
On January 19, 2022, the Higher Regional Court in Frankfurt, Germany, began the first session in the trial of the Syrian doctor, Alaa M., on charges amounting to crimes against humanity. The indictment contains 18 charges, including killing, torture, and causing physical and mental harm to detainees arrested by the Syrian regime on the grounds of their political opposition, with the crimes taking place in 2011 and 2012 in military hospitals in Homs and Damascus, in addition to the 261 Military Intelligence Prison in Homs. The German Public Prosecutor had announced the arrest of Alaa M., on June 22, 2020, in the German state of Hesse, on charges of committing crimes against humanity while working in the Homs Military Hospital before he moved to Germany. On December 16 of the same year, the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office in Germany issued an expanded arrest warrant against Alaa.
The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR), represented by its director, Fadel Abdul Ghany, attended the first opening session of the trial. Through this participation, SNHR aims to support this trial, which we believe will contribute to revealing more details about the widespread practice of torture in state-military hospitals. We also displayed paintings drawn by SNHR staff of seven of the doctors forcibly disappeared by the Syrian regime, in order to underline the stark contrast between a doctor accused of torturing opposition demonstrators for their just, peaceful demands for a change in the dictatorial regime, and the heroic doctors who risked their own lives to provide medical treatment to demonstrators and provided relief services, and peacefully expressed their opinion on the need to move towards democracy. In response to their courageous and principled actions, however, the Syrian regime arrested and forcibly disappeared them, with one of these doctors being our colleague at SNHR, Dr. Omar Arnous, who has been forcibly disappeared since October 6, 2012.