Paris court sentences three Syrian officials in absentia for war crimes

24 May 2024, 20:44

France Syria Torture Trial
France Syria Torture Trial. Picture: PA

The trial focused on the officials’ role in the alleged arrest, torture and killing in 2013 in Damascus of Mazen Dabbagh and his son Patrick.

A Paris court sentenced three high-ranking Syrian officials in absentia to life in prison on 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 Dabbagh’s brother.

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 Mr Assad has started to shed his long-time 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.

By Press Association

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