French court sentences 3 Syrian officials to life in prison in absentia for war crimes

A Paris court has sentenced three high-ranking Syrian officials in absentia to life in prison for complicity in war crimes in a landmark case against the regime of Syria’s President Bashar Assad and the first such case on European soil

Via AP news wire
Friday 24 May 2024 20:30 BST

A Paris court sentenced three high-ranking Syrian officials in absentia to life in prison Friday for complicity in war crimes in a landmark case against the regime of Syria’s President Bashar Assad and the first such case on European soil.

The trial focused on the officials’ role in the alleged arrest, torture and killing in 2013 in Damascus of Mazen Dabbagh, a Franco-Syrian father, and his son Patrick. The four-day trial featured harrowing testimonies from survivors and searing accounts from Mazen’s brother.

Though cathartic for many, observers in France say the verdict is essentially toothless.

Since 2018, international arrest warrants have been issued for the three sentenced officials: Ali Mamlouk, Jamil Hassan, and Abdel Salam Mahmoud. They are the most senior Syrian officials to go on trial in a European court over crimes allegedly committed during the country’s civil war

The court proceedings came as Assad has started to shed his longtime status as a pariah that stemmed from the violence unleashed on his opponents. Human rights groups involved in the case hoped it would refocus attention on alleged atrocities.

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