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France accuses Syrian suspect of crimes against humanity

media Paris courthouse (illustration). Zakaria ABDELKAFI / AFP

French authorities have filed preliminary charges of complicity in crimes against humanity against a Syrian man suspected of being involved in a secret police crackdown on opposition activists during the Syrian uprising of 2011.

A judicial official said Saturday that 30-year old Abdulhamid A. is being held in custody pending further investigation. He was detained on Tuesday near Paris on suspicion of taking part in crimes committed by the Syrian regime against civilians between 2011 and 2013.

It's the first time such a charge has been levied here in France, and is part of a joint joint investigation by German and French prosecutors.

On Tuesday, two other suspects were detained in Germany, also suspected of carrying out or aiding crimes against humanity.

Identified as Anwar R. and Eyad A. both are former members of President Bachar Al-Assad's intelligence services. They were placed in pretrial detention.

They are accused of taking part in the abuse of detainees at a prison in Damascus, presided over by Anwar R.

Both suspects left Syria in 2012.

The arrests mark the first major breakthroughs by international investigators who are trying to track down individuals they believe are responsible for atrocities committed on behalf of the Syrian government during the country’s eight-year war.

According to the London-based Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (SOHR), at least 60,000 people have died while being tortured in Syria's prisons.

The United Nations commission of enquiry has, on several occasions, accused the waring parties of war crimes, including crimes against humanity.


(with newswires)


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