The first session of German-based Syrian torture doctor Alaa Moussa’s trial, accused of “crimes against humanity” while working for the Assad regime’s military hospitals, has ended.
On Wednesday, activists from inside the Frankfurt court said that the German prosecutor charged the Syrian doctor with eight charges of human rights violations. The most notable violations are the torture of detainees at Homs military hospital and others in Damascus, the surgery on detainees without anesthesia, and the burning of some detainees’ genitals.
According to German prosecutors, Alaa Moussa is accused of torturing detainees in at least 18 cases while working as a doctor in military hospitals under the Assad regime. This comes in addition to the charge of the premeditated murder of one of the detainees.
During the first hearing, Alaa, who entered the courtroom with his head bowed down, was heard while still hiding his face.
He said in German that he was a civilian doctor, not a military one and that he did not serve in Assad’s army but instead paid conscription exemption fees of US $8,000 after arriving in Germany.
He says he had to work in military hospitals after graduating from the Faculty of Medicine, as he had not found work in the civilian hospitals where he had allegedly applied several applications.
Moussa tried to circumvent the crimes directed against him, by saying that he is a civil doctor and has his social status and cannot commit such crimes, adding that he came with his family to Germany and obtained permanent residency there in 2017, and he did not have any judicial precedents in Syria and Germany, he said.
The accused also tried to use his Christian religion in an attempt to appeal to the court, saying that Christians in Syria are a minority and that before the war they had no difficulty exercising their religious rights, according to his testimony published by the Syrian Center for Legal Studies and Research.
A second session is scheduled for Alaa Moussa’s trial, next Tuesday, during which the testimony of nine witnesses, including those tortured by Alaa, will be heard. The number of hearings will reach 14 sessions in principle, at the rate of two sessions per week.
The trial is expected to end next summer, and the Syrian doctor could face life imprisonment, as in the case of Anwar Raslan, for premeditated murder.
The Council of Judges decided to extend the pretrial detention of Alaa Moussa, after seizing a WhatsApp conversation between him and an employee at the Syrian embassy in Berlin, indicating that he was planning to run from Germany with the help of the embassy.
After Raslan, Germany prosecutes doctor who tortured Syrian protesters
German authorities arrested Dr. Alaa Moussa in June 2020 in the German state of Hesse, following a televised investigation published by al-Jazeera, which dealt with the asylum to Europe of soldiers and doctors loyal to the Assad regime, believed to have committed “war crimes”.
According to the arrest warrant, translated by the al-Souria Net team, Alaa worked at Homs military hospital and tortured civilians held in the military intelligence prison, where he faces charges of deliberately killing one of the detainees and torturing 18 others.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.