Syrian doctor suspected of crimes against humanity

A Syrian doctor who has taken refuge in Germany is the subject of an investigation for crimes against humanity in Homs, said the Spiegel on Friday, while a historic trial of the abuses attributed to the Syrian regime is being held.

Presented by the German weekly as "Hafiz A.", This doctor who now works in the regional state of Hesse is suspected of having beaten, ill-treated and tortured injured opponents of the Syrian regime in a military hospital in Homs, the center of the uprising against President Bashar al- Assad from March 2011. Requested by hooly News, the General Prosecutor's Office of Karlsruhe refused to comment on this information.

In this investigation, carried out jointly with the Qatar television channel Al-Jazeera, Der Spiegel is based on four testimonies, including those of two former doctors of the military establishment, Maez al-Ghajar and Mohammed Wahbi. The other two witnesses, who each lost a family member from torture, formally recognized him in a photo last week.

The lawyer for Hafez A. categorically denied these accusations, assuring that his client, of Christian faith, was victim of "slanders from radical Islamist circles" But his two medical colleagues said that he boasted in particular of having operated on an injured opponent without anesthesia. He also sprayed the genitals of another opponent in an ambulance with alcohol before setting them on fire.

According to another testimony, in October 2011, he beat a young man with epilepsy before forcing him to put a shoe in his mouth. Hafez A. arrived in Germany in May 2015 and is currently working in a spa hospital.

Germany, where more than 700,000 Syrians have found refuge in nine years, launched in 2011 a structural investigation into the crimes committed in Syria, gathering documents and testimony on these abuses. In addition, since the end of April, the first trial in the world of two former Syrian intelligence agents in Koblenz has been held, accused of torturing anti-regime demonstrators at the start of the uprising in 2011.