BERLIN: A former Syrian police officer has been sentenced to life in prison in Germany for his brutal and lethal torture of prisoners.

According to the international website, a German court has sentenced a former Syrian secret police officer to life in prison for overseeing the torture of prisoners in a prison near Damascus a decade ago.

The Syrians are awaiting a verdict in a landmark case in which President Bashar al-Assad himself was tortured during the regime or who lost loved ones at his hands.

A state court in the German city of Koblentz has ruled that Anwar Ruslan was a senior officer in a prison in the Syrian city of Douma, where alleged opposition protesters were being held.

According to German media, Anwar Ruslan has been sentenced to life imprisonment in the court.

Anwar Ruslan’s lawyers told the court last week that he had never personally assaulted anyone and that he had fled the country in 2012, so an acquittal was sought.

The German prosecution alleges that Anwar Ruslan monitored the systematic and brutal torture of more than 4,000 prisoners between April 2011 and September 2012, which resulted in dozens of deaths.

Last year, a Cobblets court sentenced junior officer Iyad al-Gharib to four-and-a-half years in prison for crimes against humanity. Both men sought refuge in Germany and were arrested in 2019.

Victims and human rights groups have expressed hope that the ruling will be the first step towards justice for the countless people who have not been able to file criminal cases against such officers in Syria or at the International Criminal Court.

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