Inside the Alaa M. Trial #23: The feeling of losing everything
Higher Regional Court – Frankfurt, Germany
Trial Monitoring Summary #23
Hearing Dates: October 10, 11 & 13, 2022
SJAC’s 23rd trial monitoring report details days 35, 36 & 37 of the trial of Alaa M. in Frankfurt, Germany. The third survivor-witness in the trial started his in-court testimony. He told the Court about how he, his brother, and cousin were arrested at home. He also told the Court about how they were detained in inhumane conditions, and how they were mistreated. The witness also described how his brother, who had neurological issues, was administered a pill, allegedly by Alaa M., and died after taking the pill. The Judges started their detailed questioning of the witness while always ensuring that the witness understood the court procedures and that breaks were issued whenever the witness needed one. On the third, day, the visual inspection and translation of a video documentary about alleged Syrian perpetrators living in Europe was completed. Alaa M. also provided a statement, detailing how he was approached by the journalists in the video.
CAUTION: Some testimony includes descriptions of torture.
Note that this summary is not a verbatim transcript of the trial; it is merely an unofficial summary of the proceedings.
Throughout this summary, [information located in brackets are notes from our trial monitor] and “information placed in quotes are statements made by the witness, judges or counsel.” The names and identifying information of witnesses have been redacted.
Day 35 – October 10, 2022
The third survivor-witness in this trial started his in-court testimony. The witness described how he was arrested and taken to the Military Security Branch in Homs together with his brother and cousin. He described how he and his brother were beaten by the Accused who came to the branch as a doctor. As with previous Arabic witness testimonies, there were several interruptions due to discussions about the correct translation of certain terms.
Day 36 – October 11, 2022
The Judges’ questioning of the third survivor-witness in the trial continued. The witness described how Alaa M. allegedly administered a pill to the witness' brother who suffered from a neurological disease. According to the witness, his brother died from this pill, as he was unable to move shortly after receiving the pill, and eventually died. The testimony was emotionally exhausting for the witness. The Judges thus issued several breaks and were determined to explain the court procedure to increase the witness’ comfort.
Since two of the three Defense Counsel cannot attend the trial day scheduled on October 17, the defense team requested to cancel this day. Although the Prosecutors objected by saying that an effective defense is guaranteed with only one counsel present and that the purpose of having three counsel is to avoid such delays, the Judges decided to cancel the session. Considering the importance of the witness testimony scheduled for this trial day, the Judges preferred to have more than one counsel present, although regretting the continuous delays.
Day 37 – October 13, 2022
As P8 was unavailable to testify in court, the Court continued the visual inspection and translation of the Al-Jazeera video, which had been interrupted due to a medical emergency on one of the previous trial days. Once the inspection was completed, Alaa M. provided an extensive statement on how he was approached by the relevant journalists at both his home and his place of work in Germany. M. further described the situation in which he assumes that the pictures of him that were also shown in the video, were taken.
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