TRIAL OF ANWAR RASLAN and EYAD AL-GHARIB
Higher Regional Court – Koblenz, Germany
Trial Monitoring Report 34
Hearing Date: April 21, 2021
All reports and witness lists are available, here.
CAUTION: Some testimony includes descriptions of torture.
Trial Day 71 – April 21, 2021
P33, a 57-year-old Syrian woman, testified regarding her own detention in Al-Khatib Branch, as well as her daughters’ detention at the same branch. Although she was not subjected to torture herself, she witnessed other detainees being tortured at the Branch, including women. She further described the extremely unhygienic conditions. During the search for her daughters who were detained in Al-Khatib Branch, she also met Anwar Raslan in an office at the Branch and identified him as a higher-ranking employee. Raslan’s defense as well as the prosecutors flagged several contradictions between P33’s and P32’s testimony regarding a meeting with Raslan. P33 confirmed that her testimony would represent the event how she remembered it. P33 and two other persons requested to join the trial as plaintiffs.
Day 71 of Trial – April 21, 2021
The hearing began at 9:30 am with five spectators and two members of the press in the audience. None of the accredited journalists requested access to the Arabic interpretation. The prosecution was represented by prosecutors Klinge and Polz. Plaintiff Counsel Bier substituted for Dr. Oehmichen.
Testimony of P33
P31 was accompanied by her witness counsel, Dr. Kroker, and informed about her rights and duties as a witness. P33 detailed that she was 57 years old, had four children and was not related to the defendant by blood or marriage.
Judge Kerber’s Questioning
Presiding Judge Kerber recalled that P33’s daughter testified the previous week. Based on her testimony, the judges would like to ask questions regarding three different topics: arrest and detention of P33’s 1st daughter [name redacted]; arrest and detention of P33’s 2nd daughter [P32], and P33’s own arrest and detention. Kerber asked P33 to first describe to the court what happened to her and her family in 2011. P33 explained that it all started on March 15, 2011. Her oldest [1st] daughter [name redacted] studied at the college and was supposed to come home after her classes. However, relatives called P33 and told her that her 1st daughter was demonstrating at Al-Hamidiyah Souq, holding a Syrian flag and shouting. P33 said she got very afraid because she knew how the regime would deal “with such things.” P33 therefore visited her 3rd daughter [name redacted] at her work. When the two were talking, an SUV appeared and four people who got out of the car told her daughter that they wanted to talk to her and ask her questions. P33 wanted to accompany her daughter, but she was not allowed. P33 described that the men eventually took her daughter, and she was unable to do anything against that. When P33 returned home to inform her husband, their flat was packed with security officers who searched the entire flat. The officers also asked questions about P33’s daughters and told P33 that she would have her daughters back in two hours. P33 recalled that this happened around 3PM, however, when she did not get her daughters back at night, she decided to do something dangerous the following day.
P33 went to the presidential office where she loudly requested to talk to the president to ask about her daughters. P33 said she was laughed at and given a phone number of a man, whom she was told to call. However, she was unsuccessful in her attempts to reach someone. She then went home and drove from [intelligence] Branch to [intelligence] Branch with her car, searching for her daughters. P33 said she was at the Political Branch, the National Security Branch, at Kafar Souseh, at Palestine Branch, and the Military Security Branch. She was laughed at and sent away from all these Branches. The criminal police could not help her either. P33 recalled that she felt bad when she returned home. She did not get any information about her daughters the following day. On the third day [after her daughters were arrested] a young man (P33 did not know how he got her phone number) called her at around 5PM to tell her that there was a sit-in in front of the palace of justice. P33 went there together with her husband and son. P33 said there were many people participating, waiting for their loved ones who were being held at the palace of justice. She assumed that her daughters would be held there as well, however, their names did not appear on a list that was shown there. A man who introduced himself as [name redacted], a human rights advocate, approached P33 and told her that she would be right and should keep asking for her daughters as loud as she could.
P33 said that everything was silent, except for P33, her husband and son, who were shouting for their daughters. The prosecutor of Damascus looked out of his window, down on the protesters and ordered to bring the three screaming people to him. P33 further recalled that when entering his office, she asked if her daughters would be “down there” as well. However, the prosecutor told them they were not. During their conversation, a tall man who was talking on the phone entered the room. He said that P33’s family would be an honorable and respectable family. They were told that their daughter would be with Colonel Khalid from Political Security, and that they would be taken there to see their daughter. P33 said she and her husband (her son was not allowed to accompany them) were directly taken to Al-Khatib Branch by car. According to P33, she was looking everywhere for her daughters, but never imagined that they could be at Al-Khatib.
P33 said that it was silent when they entered the building; she was afraid. She further described that people were working at their computers in their offices. P33 and her husband had to wait for 30 minutes or longer before they were taken to another office. P33 described it as a big office with one man sitting behind a desk and two other people being present as well. She said it was obvious that the person behind the desk was important, as the two others “were sitting respectfully.” P33 explained that she and her husband did not know anyone at this point. Later, they found out that one of the people was Anwar Raslan. P33 went on to describe that both their daughters were eventually taken to the office as well. P33’s 3rd daughter was in very bad condition, because she had spent three days in a solitary cell, not knowing what she was accused of. P33’s 1st daughter was there as well. She was also exhausted, however, in a better condition than her sister. P33 said her 1st daughter’s hijab was covered in blood, she had blue and red marks in her face. To downplay the situation, P33’s husband immediately asked P33’s 1st daughter why she participated in the demonstration. P33 recalled that she sat next to her 1st daughter, however, she told P33 to not touch her, as her entire body was hurting. P33 and her husband apologized and assured that their daughter would never again participate in a demonstration. P33’s 3rd daughter was then released. Regarding her 1st daughter, P33 explained that the person behind the desk left the room to come back and tell the family that he spoke to the president [Bashar Al-Assad] on the phone. The president denied that P33’s 1st daughter would be released.
Judge Kerber apologized for interrupting P33 and asked who the man behind the desk was. P33 said she and her family did not know any names back then. Later, they recognized the person in a photo, identifying him as Jamil Hassan.
Kerber wanted to know if Jamil Hassan spoke to President Bashar Al-Assad in this situation. P33 affirmed, adding that he at least told them so.
Kerber asked P33 to continue with her general description. P33 went on to explain that they were allowed to take their 3rd daughter home, along with many items that were confiscated from their flat. P33’s 1st daughter was not allowed to come with them. P33 said they had to wait for ten days. On the 11th day, there was an amnesty from the president, regarding protesters. P33 said she was very happy and immediately went to Al-Khatib Branch together with her family to take P33’s 1st daughter home. P33 recalled how they met Anwar Raslan at this occasion. They were all sitting in Raslan’s office, talking to him. P33, her husband and their children were all allowed to talk to P33’s 1st daughter, however, she was not yet released. P33 said allegedly they had to deal with certain things before P33’s 1st daughter could be released. P33 further recalled that Lieutenant-Colonel Abdel Hassan was there was well. He was nice and helped P33 and her family to get P33’s 1st daughter back. P33’s 1st daughter returned home sometime after that.
Judge Wiedner’s Questioning
Judge Wiedner asked if it would be correct to summarize that P33 searched for her daughters at different Branches after their arrest. She then went to the palace of justice together with her husband from where she was driven to Al-Khatib Branch. P33 confirmed.
Wiedner wanted to know whether P33 and her family hired intermediaries to get information about their daughters before they eventually met at Al-Khatib Branch. P33 said to be honest, they did not know anyone who worked for the government and did not have any relationship with “such people.” They tried to contact a lawyer (friend of the family) but no one dared to get involved. P33 explained she was afraid that her husband or son would be arrested when asking about her daughters, she therefore decided to search for them herself.
Wiedner asked if they paid money [to release their daughters]. P33 said they did not pay money the first time.
Wiedner wanted to know if that means that they paid money at a later point. P33 affirmed, explaining that they paid money when P32 was detained at the Military Security, to secure her freedom on certain conditions.
Wiedner concluded the family did not pay money in March 2011. P33 affirmed.
Wiedner asked how many days after her daughters’ arrest the family was taken to Al-Khatib. P33 said it was around three days later, however, they only got one daughter out.
Wiedner wanted to know whether P33 knew the place [Al-Khatib Branch]. P33 explained that the Branch had a very bad reputation, everyone in Damascus knew that. She recognized the Branch due to its proximity to the Red Crescent Hospital.
Wiedner asked who exactly was present at the first meeting in Al-Khatib Branch. P33 explained that she did not know any names at the time, they only found out their names at a later point. She added that Jamil Hassan was sitting behind the desk. Raslan was sitting on a sofa on the right, P33’s husband sat next to him. On the left sat a person named Khaled, who took them [P33 and her husband] to the office.
Wiedner wanted to know if P32 was present as well. P33 denied.
Wiedner asked if P33 recognized any of the people from the office in the courtroom. P33 affirmed.
Wiedner asked whom she recognized. P33 said she recognized Anwar Raslan.
Wiedner recalled that P33 did not know the names Jamil Hassan and Anwar Raslan initially and asked her how she got to know the names. P33 explained that when she was at the Branch to pick up her daughter, there was a nameplate on the desk.
Wiedner wanted to know if that happened later or on the same day. P33 said it did not happen on the same day.
Wiedner recalled that at the first meeting, both of P33’s daughters were in a bad condition, especially P33’s 1st daughter. Wiedner asked which daughter was hurt. P33 described that one of her daughters had red and blue marks in her face and her hijab was covered in blood. When P33 tried to hug her daughter to comfort her, she denied, because her entire body was hurting.
Wiedner wanted to know if P33’s 1st daughter was beaten by anyone in the office. P33 said she was not beaten when P33 was present.
Wiedner recalled that P33 was at the Branch a second time, asking her when and why this happened. P33 said she went to the Branch as soon as media reports about a presidential amnesty for protestors started spreading. She went to the Branch together with her family to meet her 1st daughter. Anwar Raslan received them in his office and Abdel Hassan told them that they could wait there.
Wiedner wanted to know which family members were present. P33 said it was her husband, son, 1st daughter, 3rd daughter and herself.
Wiedner asked how the meeting went. P33 explained that they were welcomed with the request to assure that their daughter would not participate in demonstrations again. P33’s husband assured that none of his daughters would participate in demonstrations again. They were then told that “such thing cannot happen and cause serious consequences.”
Wiedner wanted to know who said that. P33 explained that Anwar Raslan sat down for a bit and told them things like that. Abdel Hassan was present as well.
Wiedner asked P33 if she could tell the court anything about Raslan’s rank; whether he was giving orders, was helpful, or dismissive. P33 described that during their first meeting, Raslan was sitting respectfully before another person who was sitting behind the desk. It was apparent that he treated this person with respect. P33 added that in this situation she was only worried about getting her daughters back. This was at their first meeting, when the family was allowed to take P33’s 3rd daughter home. At their second meeting, when they got to know Raslan, they realized that he was the head, controlling everything.
Wiedner wanted to know if both meetings took place in the same office. P33 denied, explaining that it was the same building, however, different offices.
Wiedner further wanted to know whether Raslan was wearing a uniform or civilian clothes. P33 said he wore a civilian suit.
Wiedner read out Raslan’s statement regarding his meeting with the family [Raslan’s defense submitted the statement the previous week]:
On the same day (when the daughters were arrested) their father and mother came [to Al-Khatib Branch]. The father threatened to light himself afire. I [Anwar Raslan] do not know anything about money that has been paid. P33’s 1st daughter’s parents were taken to Tawfiq Younes, I [Raslan] went there as well. P33’s 1st daughter was beaten by Division 40 and therefore had a swollen face. When the family was with Tawfiq Younes, the father hit his daughter. I [Raslan] told him that he should keep calm.
P33 said this statement would be entirely wrong. She explained that the family only learned about the whereabouts of their daughters on the third day. Her husband never said he would burn himself; they were only yelling in front of the palace of justice. A person called Khaled took them to Al-Khatib. Her daughter was not beaten in the office. P33 concluded that they were only at Al-Khatib Branch on the third day [after her daughters were arrested].
Wiedner said he had a more general question, asking if P33’s daughters were part of the opposition and regularly participating in demonstrations. P33 said before March 15, 2011, no one had a clue about demonstrations. Everyone was surprised that something like that would be possible in Syria. P33’s 1st daughter protested in front of the Libyan embassy, however, the family did not know about that. After this date, P33’s 1st daughter continued her activities [protesting against the government].
Wiedner asked whether P33’s daughter published anything on the internet. P33 asked what Wiedner was referring to. Wiedner explained that he wanted to know if her daughter published anything against the regime, like critical articles. P33 denied, adding that her daughter did not post anything on Facebook, because she was too afraid. However, she participated in demonstrations in the city [Damascus].
Wiedner wanted to know if P33’s 1st daughter told her anything about her detention after she was released. P33 denied, explaining that her 1st daughter did not want to talk about it. All that P33 wanted to know from her 1st daughter was if she was bodily or sexually hurt, since that would be considered as particularly bad by society.
Wiedner asked if they spoke about obvious injuries. P33 affirmed, adding that her 1st daughter, however, did not want to talk about it. It was a bad experience for her 1st daughter and she preferred not to talk about it. P33 said the most important thing for the family was that her 1st daughter was released.
Wiedner wanted to know if P33’s 1st daughter mentioned that she was interrogated by Anwar Raslan. P33 explained that her daughter was interrogated several times. However, she was always blindfolded and could not see any details. P33 added her daughter suffered physical and well as mental harm.
Wiedner asked whether P33’s 1st daughter did not tell P33 who had interrogated her. P33 recalled her daughter saying that Raslan beat her and another person interrogated and beat her.
Regarding Raslan beating P33’s 1st daughter, Wiedner asked P33 how this interrogation went. P33 explained that her daughter did not feel well and did not want to tell P33 any details. She only said that the interrogation officer was evil and treated her badly. However, she did not provide further details as to the kind of beatings. P33 said her 1st daughter’s reaction was to continue demonstrating.
Wiedner asked how P33’s 1st daughter knew it was Raslan who beat her. P33 explained that when the family came to his office to get P33’s 1st daughter, Raslan’s name was on the nameplate on the desk, and he was there.
Wiedner asked if P33 was referring to the second meeting. P33 confirmed.
Presiding Judge Kerber intervened, asking whether P33’s daughter said she was interrogated by two people. P33 affirmed.
Kerber wanted to know which interrogator was the evil one. P33 said they were both evil.
Judge Wiedner wanted to know how the second meeting was arranged; whether the family made an appointment or simply went to the Branch. P33 said they simply went there as soon as they heard about the amnesty.
Wiedner asked if P33’s 1st daughter was beaten at the second meeting. P33 affirmed.
Wiedner further asked if the bloodstains that were visibly at the first meeting were also visible at the second meeting. P33 affirmed, adding that her daughter kept the hijab until this very day, as keepsake.
Prosecutor Polz wanted to know if P33’s family spoke about the first meeting at home. P33 asked for clarification. Polz specified she wanted to know if the family spoke about the meeting with P33’s 2nd daughter [P32]. P33 said of course they spoke about the first meeting.
Polz asked where P32 was during the first meeting. P33 said her 2nd daughter [P32] was at home.
Polz wanted to know whether the family told P32 what they were up to, that they were planning to go to Al-Khatib Branch. P33 explained that when they left the flat, they did not know they would end up at Al-Khatib. They only planned to participate in the sit-in.
Polz asked P33 why they did not take P32 with them. P33 said they were afraid, explaining they were living in a society that was always worried about their daughters.
Polz further recalled that P32 told the court the previous week that she was present during the first meeting [with Raslan]. Plaintiff counsel Scharmer intervened, saying that P32 did not say that. She rather said she was present during one meeting. Polz asked P33 why P32 said she was present at a meeting. P33 said P32 was present during the second meeting.
Polz recalled P33’s 2nd daughter [P32] saying that P33’s 3rd daughter was present during the meeting that P32 was present as well. P33 affirmed, explaining that her 3rd daughter was present at the second meeting, because she had already been released.
Polz said P32 told the court that P33’s 3rd daughter was still detained at the meeting at which P32 was present. Polz asked P33 how it comes that P32 remembers the meeting like that. P33 said she does not have an explanation for that. Maybe there was a misunderstanding when they talked about it. P33 explained that her 1st daughter and her 3rd daughter were arrested. P33’s 3rd daughter was released on the third day. P32 accompanied the family when they went to pick up P33’s 1st daughter at a later point.
Defense counsel Fratzky complained he did not understand the interpretation. P33 repeated her statement: Both daughters were arrested. P33’s 1st daughter and her 3rd daughter did not know where they were for three days. When P33 went to the sit-in she was taken to Al-Khatib where she found out that both daughters were at this Branch. P33 said this would be the first meeting which she attended only together with her husband.
Regarding the second meeting, Polz asked P33 about Raslan’s behavior. She wanted to know if Raslan was understanding or authoritative. P33 said since Raslan saw that she and her husband did not agree with their daughters’ behavior [protesting], Raslan was “normal”. He was neither mad nor upset.
Defense counsel Böcker wanted to know how Raslan saw that P33 and her husband did not agree with their daughters’ behavior. P33 explained that Raslan demanded that the family takes care that their daughters would not participate in demonstrations again. P33 said her “husband did so.”
Böcker asked if P33 and her husband consequently made some kind of declaration [regarding their daughters’ future behavior]. P33 denied, adding that they simply wanted to do anything to leave the Branch as soon as possible. They simply agreed [with what Raslan demanded].
Böcker wanted to know if it was correct that the first meeting took place three days after P33’s daughters were arrested, and the second meeting took place 11 days after the arrest. P33 confirmed.
Böcker further recalled that the arrest was on March 15, 2011. P33 confirmed again.
Böcker wanted to know how P33 could still remember this exact date, although it was a long time ago. He added that it would not be the first time that the court heard this date. P33 said she could never forget this date since it marks the beginning of the Syrian revolution. It was the start of peaceful demonstrations in Damascus.
Böcker asked if P33 was 100% sure about the 3-day time frame [for the first meeting]. P33 confirmed.
Böcker asked if P33 would be sure about the 11-days time frame to the same degree. P33 confirmed.
Böcker recalled that P33 and her family did not know anyone at the first meeting. They only learned their names at a later stage. P33 affirmed, adding that she did not know any names on the meeting three days after the arrest, but she could remember the faces.
Böcker concluded that there were no name plates at the first meeting. P33 confirmed.
Böcker further concluded that P33 recognized Raslan at a later stage. P33 confirmed.
Böcker asked if P33 recognizes Raslan today [in court] as well. P33 affirmed.
Böcker wanted to know if P33 saw Raslan in the media. P33 denied, adding that she saw him when she herself was detained in his [Raslan’s] Branch [Al-Khatib].
Böcker recalled P33 mentioning an important person who was present at the first meeting, and that P33 mentioned several names in this context. Böcker said he was confused as P33 said that one person was important, however, another person was in charge. P33 explained that this person came and said he would take over the matter regarding P33’s daughters. This person was not the leading person in the building; however, he had a certain rank. P33 added her daughters were the first women who were detained at this Branch [Al-Khatib]. Her family would be a very conservative Damascene family. And they wanted to get rid of the whole issue.
Böcker concluded that this person [high rank but not in charge of the Branch] was a person who was treated with respect. Böcker further wanted to know if it was correct to say that this person was in charge on the first meeting and leading the conversation, three days after the arrest. P33 said one can describe the situation like that. She added that ten days later, when they came to pick up her 1st daughter, they found out that Anwar Raslan was the person in charge.
Böcker wanted to know how P33 came to the conclusion that Raslan was in charge and the reason she describes Raslan like that today [in court]. P33 explained that at the second meeting when they went to pick up her 1st daughter, P33 saw that Raslan was treated with respect and addressed as “sidi” [dear sir]. He also gave orders.
Böcker concluded that at the second meeting, Raslan acted like the other person did at the first meeting. P33 confirmed.
Böcker recalled that Raslan’s statement on the meeting was just read out again when P33 said it was all wrong. According to Böcker however, there were several commonalities between Raslan’s statement and P33’s description of the meetings. What is different between the two descriptions is first the identity of the important person at the first meeting. Second, the condition of P33’s daughter’s hijab. Third, P33 spontaneously described in court that at the first meeting, P33’s husband immediately asked their daughters about the demonstrations [why they participated]. Böcker asked P33, as far as she remembered, to describe her husband’s reaction in this situation. P33 explained that her husband said that [why they protested] to their daughters to pick up the anger of the other people who were present. He also said that their daughters would not protest again.
Böcker wanted to know where the anger that P33 describes came from, if she actually felt it or simply assumed it. P33 explained that she did not expect such anger. However, everyone knew how the regime reacted and struck back [to demonstrations]. That was why her husband tried to explain that their daughters participated in demonstrations only once and would never do that again.
Böcker wanted to know if P33 and her husband had a strategy for this meeting, if he agreed beforehand to try calm everyone down by explaining their daughter’s participation in demonstrations was a one-time event. P33 explained that when she, her husband and son went to the sit-in in front of the palace of justice, they did not have any plan. They did not know they would be taken somewhere, so they did not talk about a strategy before.
Böcker asked if P33’s daughter reacted to her father’s declaration about her participation in demonstrations. P33 said she did not react. Her entire body was shaking, P33 tried to calm her down.
Böcker wanted to know who said that P33’s daughter would be released. He wanted to know if P33 knew who ordered the release or only knew about the final result. P33 referred to her previous statements about a person leaving the room and coming back to say he spoke with the President. P33 said she does not know whether it was true that the person spoke to the President on the phone or whether it was just acting. However, this person said the President decided that P33’s 3rd daughter shall be released and P33’s 1st daughter shall “be educated.”
Böcker recalled P33 saying her 3rd daughter was not beaten while P33 was present. P33 affirmed, adding that no one was beaten.
Böcker asked if P33 was present at the meeting all the time. P33 affirmed, adding that she was always together with her husband.
Böcker further asked if P33 and her husband entered and left the room at the same time. P33 affirmed.
Böcker recalled P33 saying the second meeting took place ten days after the first meeting, but another time also saying that the second meeting took place 11 days after the arrest. P33 explained the second meeting took place ten days after the first meeting and 11 days after the arrest.
Böcker wanted to know how long the family had to wait after the second meeting until their daughter was released. P33 said they had to wait for around two days.
Böcker asked if P33 and her family ever found out why the daughter was released two days after the second meeting. P33 said there was a presidential amnesty for all protesters.
Böcker wanted to know if it would also be possible that P33’s daughter was released because the family spoke to Raslan who tried to help them and initiated the daughter’s release. P33 said if this would have been the case, their daughter would have been released earlier.
Böcker asked if this would be the only reason why P33 believed that it would be impossible that Raslan helped them. P33 said there would be bureaucracy and a lot of paperwork and documents.
Böcker wanted to know why P33 thinks it was not Raslan who released her daughter. P33 said this hypothetical question would raise even more questions.
Plaintiff counsel Bahns intervened, objecting to the defense’s hypotheses. Defense counsel Böcker asked plaintiff counsel Scharmer to stay silent and not interrupt him. Plaintiff counsel Scharmer clarified that he did not object to anything, it was Bahns who objected Böcker’s question.
Defense counsel Böcker continued his questioning by asking P33 why she assumes that her daughter’s release was not ordered by Anwar Raslan. P33 said she and her family heard about the presidential amnesty and their daughter was released two days after that.
Böcker said there was only one general presidential amnesty, which was declared on May 31, 2011. Plaintiff counsel Scharmer intervened, asking for Böcker’s source of information. Böcker said one can read that on the internet. Scharmer said this would be a criminal trial, internet sources would be insufficient. Presiding Judge Kerber intervened, asking defense counsel Böcker to come up with a proper question for the witness.
Böcker asked P33 if she was sure that the amnesty was declared on March 26, 2011 as she mentioned earlier. P33 said she does not remember the exact date, all she remembered was that her daughter was released because of that [presidential amnesty], adding that these events happened ten years ago.
Böcker said he only knows about one presidential amnesty, which was declared on May 31, 2011. He asked P33 if she wanted to change her testimony since Böcker was of the opinion that there was no amnesty on the date that P33 mentioned. P33 said the amnesty she referred to was declared “in an attempt to control the anger of the street.” This amnesty was not issued by the parliament. P33 recalled, that she was told the President issued a general amnesty, so P33 and her family went to Al-Khatib Branch to get her daughter back. P33 added that her family knows another person who was arrested on March 18, 2011 and released almost the same day as her daughter.
Böcker wanted to know if P33 spoke to P32 after P32’s testimony. P33 affirmed, explaining that she asked her daughter about how she was doing, however, they did not talk about any details of P32’s testimony. P33 said she only wanted to know how her daughter was doing mentally, because her daughter was in a bad condition.
Böcker concluded his questioning by telling plaintiff counsel Scharmer that Scharmer’s “sham objections” would be disruptive and often superfluous. Böcker said he wanted to clarify an important aspect [when Scharmer allegedly interrupted him].
Presiding Judge Kerber asked plaintiff counsel Scharmer if he wanted to reply. Scharmer said the first objection was made by plaintiff counsel Bahns, adding that Böcker should use headphones to keep track of what is said in court by whom.
Presiding Judge Kerber asked if Scharmer or another plaintiff counsel had any questions for the witness.
Plaintiff Counsels’ Questioning
Plaintiff counsel Scharmer said the German newspaper “Zeit” wrote in June 2014 that President Bashar Al-Assad issued several amnesties. P33 confirmed, explaining that there were several presidential decrees. Many young men were arrested [in the context of demonstrations], the decrees and amnesties were attempts to control the anger of the street.
Scharmer recalled that P33’s 1st daughter was a woman who was arrested right at the beginning of the demonstrations. He asked P33 if her 1st daughter was therefore known in Syria. P33 affirmed, saying that her 1st daughter was the first woman to loudly demonstrate in Damascus. Her daughter showed great bravery.
Scharmer said that P33 spoke to her 1st daughter [about her 1st daughter detention], however, they did not talk about any details. Scharmer wanted to know if it was normal for P33’s culture that people would not talk about “such things” [experience in detention, especially sexual violence] openly in their families. P33 said it was a new experience for them [Syrian society]: Young women who were detained. P33 added it was most important for the families that their daughters were not sexually abused. [P33 started crying, the interpreter gave her a tissue] P33 said as a mother, she wanted to know what her daughters had to endure. Maybe she did not ask with enough emphasis, but as a mother she wanted to know.
Presiding Judge Kerber suggested a break, since the next complex of questions would be bigger, and a break would give everyone the chance to calm down. She added that if P33, however, wanted to get over and done with the questions, they could continue as well. P33 said she preferred to have a break.
[70 minute break]
Presiding Judge Kerber reopened the session by saying that the judges used the break to do some research. They came across a German newspaper article detailing presidential amnesties in Syria. Copies of the article would be handed over to the parties and the court interpreter would provide a simultaneous interpretation for the Accused. Kerber read out the article dated March 25, 2011.
Defense counsel Böcker said this press-article would be contradictory to other articles. However, it would be clear in any event that these presidential amnesties were never executed. He said the defense might submit a declaration in this regard at a later point if necessary. Defense counsel Fratzky added an article from the German news magazine “Der Spiegel” dated May 31, 2011, details the presidential general amnesty that his colleague Böcker was referring to earlier. Böcker added that the article which Judge Kerber just read out would certainly not be the ultimate truth. Presiding Judge Kerber said the defense would be free to submit a formal statement in this regard.
Defense counsel Fratzky mentioned that his client’s statement regarding the events described by P32 and P33 were read out to P33 several times now. Fratzky said the defense requests that photos of Tawfiq Younes and Jamil Hassan would be presented to P33. Judge Kerber asked Fratzky to tell the court where to find these photos on the case file. Defense counsel Böcker said if anyone knows where to find these photos on the casefile, the defense wanted them to be presented to P33.
Judge Kerber said P33 had to wait for a long time now. Judge Wiedner would now begin his questioning regarding the second thematic complex [P32’s and P33’s arrest and detention].
Judge Wiedner’s Questioning
Judge Wiedner explained he now wants to know more about P32’s and P33’s arrest and detention, and asked P33 to describe the context, time frame and details of how this happened. P33 described that “the regime started to react strongly.” There was a massacre in Al-Houla where 50 children and babies were “butchered” with knives. P33 said this event left its marks on the Syrian society. Young people and the opposition reacted to it and many people were arrested all across the country. P33 said she was very worried about P32 because she was active [demonstrating] as well.
Wiedner wanted to know when this happened. P33 said it was in May 2012. P32 and her friends decided to participate in a sit-in. P33 therefore decided to be there [at the sit-in] as well to protect her daughter. P33 said she was always close to her daughter, but the Mukhabarat somehow found out that the sit-in was supposed to take place. P33 recalled that demonstrators had banners with sayings against the Al-Houla massacre and against the killing of children and babies. Suddenly many members of the security forces appeared and first fired warning shots in the air. People started fleeing to the side alleys. P33 said she was in great fear and hysterical because she could no longer see P32 [her daughter] . Security forces noticed P33’s behavior and knew that she participated in the demonstration as well. P33 said she was pulled inside a van that was standing at the entrance of a small side alley. After 5 minutes, P33 saw how P32 was pulled inside the van as well. P32’s glasses were broken, and her nose was bleeding. P33 recalled that P32 was surprised to see her mother in the van and asked the security officers if she could sit next to this woman [her mother P33] when she saw her. P33 said the security officers told them how to sit and everyone was silent. There were around 18 to 20 people in the van. P33 further described to the court how the van drove to Division 40, which would be in Jisr al-Abyad and belonged to Makhlouf. P33 said they were beaten when they got out of the van. When they had to walk up the stairs, there was one security officer standing on each step, beating the detainees who had to take the stairs. P33 said she and the other detainees were then told to face the wall and fold their hands. They were later taken to big room where they had to wait. The officers asked everyone for their names, but only took P32 with them. P32 was then taken back to the room and taken out a second time. P33 said the guard who took P32 back to the room the second time yelled at her and accused her of being responsible for his friend’s, Jalabi’s, death. He tried to attack P32 but his colleagues held him back. P33 said P32 later told her that she was already beaten before she was taken inside the van. That was why her glasses were broken and her nose was bleeding. P33 further described that when they had to wait in the big room, some officers looked at her, saying “she is the mother of the two denigrators and will now be held accountable.” P33 said she was quiet and later, at night, taken downstairs to the same van and taken to Al-Khatib Branch. P33 added that since she had already been there before, she knew it was Al-Khatib Branch. A new episode started there, said P33.
Wiedner asked if P33 was able to see the way to Al-Khatib or if she was blindfolded. P33 said she was not blindfolded but had to lower her head during the ride.
Wiedner wanted to know if P33 was also interrogated at Division 40. P33 said only P32 was interrogated there. They [interrogators] logged in to her Facebook account and wanted to see her posts. However, one of P32’s friends deleted her account immediately after she was arrested.
Wiedner asked how P33 knew that. P33 said she found out later.
Wiedner wanted to know what happened to P33 in Al-Khatib Branch. P33 said all detainees were immediately taken to the basement, where their personal belongings were confiscated. Two women frisked them before they were taken to a collective cell, measuring 3×3 meters. The cell was very small and had no windows as it was in the underground and had a broken toilet. P33 said she was in shock and no one talked to them [new detainees] for two days. P33 said she could not recognize any of the faces there.
Wiedner asked whether P33’s daughter was still with her at that time. P33 affirmed.
Wiedner asked how many people were inside the 3×3 meters cell. P33 said there were 18 to 20 people, maybe more.
Wiedner asked if there were only women. P33 affirmed.
Wiedner asked P33 to continue. P33 described that due to her high blood pressure, she always had to take pills. When she was without her pills for two days, her blood pressure was so high that she suddenly screamed before falling unconscious. Her daughter was so afraid, she knocked against the iron door of the cell, screaming for help. P33 said a guard opened the door and saw P33 lying on the floor. He closed the door to talk to his boss. P33 said they [she and her daughter] were allowed to go to the room next door, around 30 minutes after the guard first opened the door. A doctor and two nurses were waiting in this room. The doctor gave P33 pills to lower her blood pressure and painkillers. P33 said she tried to give the doctor her phone number, so he could call her family to let them know about her and P32’s situation. However, the doctor was too afraid and declined. P33 said she and her daughter were then taken back to the collective cell where P32 was called for interrogation four days after. When P32 was taken back to the cell after her interrogation, she did not react to P33’s questions. P33 described that everyone in the cell was interrogated separately by calling their names and taking them to interrogation. P33 described that the interrogators at her own interrogation told her they would be nice to her, however, they had to be harsh to her daughter. P33 had to sign blank sheets of paper and the interrogators told her to be nice, otherwise the blank sheets would be filled with whatever they wanted.
Wiedner wanted to know where P33’s interrogation took place. P33 said she had to go to the ground floor [first floor] and back after her interrogation.
Wiedner asked whether P33 could see her interrogator or if her eyes were covered. P33 said she was not blindfolded.
Wiedner asked if she consequently was able to identify her interrogator. P33 denied.
Wiedner concluded that P33 was not interrogated by Anwar Raslan. P33 confirmed.
Wiedner further asked if the interrogator asked P33 any specific questions. P33 denied, saying that the questions were rather general. The interrogator wanted to know why she was at the Branch and why she had been arrested. P33 said after she signed the blank sheets, she was taken back downstairs [to the collective cell], before P32 was called for interrogation. P33 recalled that when P32 came back to the cell after this interrogation, she told P33 that she was exhausted. When P33 asked her if she was beaten [P33 started crying] P32 denied, saying she was just tired. P33 described that P32 was lying in her mother’s lap for around 15 minutes before P33’s name was called. P32 told her to not be afraid, adding that she would be released for sure. P33 told the court that there were four or five solitary cells opposite to the collective cell where she was first detained. When P33’s name was called, she was taken directly to one of the solitary cells and the door was closed behind her. P33 said the cell was 1.5 meters wide. The iron door had a small window and a 3 to 4 centimeters gap to the floor. P33 said she was shocked when she heard that P32 was called. She heard her screaming, asking where she would be taken. P33 said she then heard a loud bang and could see through the gap below her cell’s door how P32 fell on the floor and was then pulled away. P33 said she was alone in the solitary cell for four days. She was allowed to use the toilet every 12 hours. Detainees were called one after the other to use the toilet. P33 said she was always relieved when she could see P32’s shoes through the gap below her cell’s door. That meant P32 was still able to walk. P33 said she sometimes wanted to knock on her door to let her daughter know she was there.
Defense counsel Böcker interrupted saying that since P33 was crying and sobbing, they should take a break. P33 replied she would be fine and want to continue her testimony. P33 then described that she never dared to knock on the door because she was too afraid that something would happen to P32 if she did. On the fourth day, the door of P33’s cell was opened, however not at the usual toilet time. P33 saw how P32, covered in blood, entered her cell. P33 said she was very relieved to be with her daughter. P32 cried a lot and apologized to P33 for putting her in this position. P33 said P32 thought her mother had been released. They had to stay in the cell together for around 18 days before P33 was released.
Judge Wiedner assured P33 she could ask for a break at any time if needed. P33 thanked Wiedner, saying that she would be able to continue without a break. Wiedner then concluded that P33 was detained in a solitary cell together with her daughter and asked how big this cell was. P33 said the cell was 1.5 meters long and 0.75 meters wide.
Wiedner asked if P33’s daughter told her what happened to her. P33 said when the door was opened to use the toilet, her daughter mentioned to the guards several times that she knew Anwar Raslan and requested to talk to him. According to P33, her daughter was in pain due to the interrogations, one time her nose started bleeding and she did not know what to do. Her clothes were covered in blood and when P32 saw the blood, she collected it with her clothes and threw it at the walls of the cell. When a guard opened the door after P32 knocked on the door, he thought P32 would die. P33 said she assumes that in this situation, the guard thought it would be best if P32 would be with her mother, so she was taken to P33’s cell.
Wiedner asked if P32 told P33 anything about abuse, mistreatment, or sexual assaults. P33 said there were no sexual assaults but harassment. Someone tried to touch P32 and asked her if she was a virgin, which P32 affirmed. P33 said there were no assaults, however.
Wiedner further wanted to know if P32 mentioned any injuries or if P33 saw injuries on P32. P33 described that P32 was in a very bad condition, she was lying in her mother’s arms all the time. Someone poured hot tea or boiling water over P32, as her skin was burnt on the right side of her torso. P33 further explained that one was only allowed to use the toilet twice a day and one bottle of water, which was not bigger than around 0.5 liters had to be used by P32 and her and could only be refilled every 12 hours. Ever since this detention, P33 has issues with her kidneys because she was only able to use the toilet twice a day and did not get enough water. What increased the suffering, according to P33, was the fact that, especially in her solitary cell, she heard voices screaming of torture all the time. She always thought that P32 could be one of them. P33 added that she could hear everything through the iron door of her solitary cell. She was also able to hear when young men arrived as new detainees and were forced to strip naked and bend down. P33 said she once heard a man saying ‘I am an old man. I could be your father. I am a lawyer and the fact that I have to get undressed is outrageous.’ P33 said the man still had to get undressed. He was insulted and the guards started insulting his god as well. P33 said she further saw blood on the floor and walls on her way to the toilet.
Wiedner asked if P32 mentioned whether she had contact with Raslan during her detention. P33 denied, saying they did not talk about that. P33 added this, however, happened during the four days she was alone. P33 recalled that she was called by a guard and taken outside her cell. The guard asked P33 if anything happened to her and if she got her medicine. P33 said she denied, and the guard told her that she would soon be allowed to take her medicine. P33 said after she was released, she found out why the guard was so nice to her: P33’s 1st daughter gave an interview for Al-Arabiya during which she said that her mother was detained and sick, and if anything would happen to her mother, the regime would be responsible for it. [P33’s counsel Dr. Kroker had a short consultation with P33]
Presiding Judge Kerber concluded that P33 was only interrogated once. P33 confirmed.
Kerber asked again if the witness was only asked general questions and told to sign blank sheets of paper. P33 confirmed.
Kerber wanted to know if P33 was told to influence her daughters. P33 said she was told that when she was about to be released. She told the guards she had been detained for 23 days, asking for the reason for her arrests and detention. The guards replied that P33 had to learn that she raised her children to hatred.
Kerber asked if P33 saw dead or injured people at the Branch. P33 denied.
Kerber asked if P33’s orifices were inspected. P33 denied, explaining she was thoroughly frisked, but not inside her orifices.
Kerber further wanted to know if P33 had to endure sexual assault or if she was threatened that she or her daughters would have to suffer sexual assaults. P33 denied.
Judge Wiednerr asked how long P33 was detained at Al-Khatib Branch. P33 said she was there for 23 days.
Wiedner asked the same question regarding P32. P33 explained that P32 was released one or two hours after P33 and transferred to the Military Intelligence Branch. Wiedner concluded that P32 was consequently not released but transferred, asking P33 when P32 was eventually released. P33 said she was detained for a total of three months, however, P33 did not remember the exact date of P32’s release.
Wiedner wanted to know how exactly P33 was threatened, insulted, or mistreated in Al-Khatib Branch. P33 explained that on the way to the toilet she was always hounded and had to endure bad insults. In general, guards insulted her and her god.
Wiedner asked if P33 was beaten during detention. P33 denied.
Wiedner wanted to know if P33 met Anwar Raslan during her detention. P33 explained that on her release she was taken upstairs where Raslan told her he had nothing against her, and she would be released. When P33 asked about her daughter, Raslan told her not to worry, and said P33 was allowed to go.
Wiedner concluded that P33 was in Raslan’s office. P33 confirmed.
Wiedner said this would be a difficult question to answer, nonetheless he would like to know if P33 recognized the office from before. P33 said she assumed it was Raslan’s office. It as a luxurious room with many files. The room was not longer than 5 meters.
Wiedner asked if P33 was alone with Raslan. P33 said there was one other man who took her to the office and then received the order to release her.
Wiedner wanted to know if Raslan interrogated P33 in this situation or why she was in his office. P33 said she was there so Raslan could tell her that he allowed her to be released.
Wiedner asked if Raslan consequently gave the order to release her. P33 affirmed.
Wiedner asked if she was released immediately after that. P33 affirmed, adding it was around 10PM at night.
Wiedner asked P33 if she wanted to have a short break. P33 affirmed.
[20 minute break]
Wiedner recalled P33 telling the court that one of the most terrible things about her detention in Al-Khatib Branch was the constant screams of torture that she heard. He asked her how often she heard them “downstairs” [in her cell]. P33 said she heard them most of the time, adding she did not hear them always, but most of the time.
Wiedner asked if she also heard these screams when she was “upstairs” [interrogation room and offices]. P33 affirmed.
Regarding detention conditions, Wiedner asked P33 to describe the food supplies at the Branch. P33 explained that she had to sleep on a very thin blanket. There were lice everywhere, and P33 “even got an allergy.” She further described that her skin was itching all the time, as did her daughter’s skin. She said they had to endure these conditions “on top of the overall detention conditions” and went on to say that the were only allowed to fill their 1-liter water bottle every 12 hours when they were using the toilet. The 1-liter bottle then had to be used by two people for 12 hours. P33 further described that they got food twice a day. After they got the food, they could use the toilet. Regarding the food, P33 said they got a flat bread with either rice or bulgur around noon and a flat bread with some yoghurt as their second meal.
Wiedner wanted to know if the food was enough. P33 said if one actually ate the food, it was enough. However, she did not want to eat and lost 9 kilos during the 23 days of detention.
Wiedner asked about the air inside the very small cell that P33 shared with her daughter. P33 laughed, saying that there was no air conditioning. She explained that fresh air only got inside the cell through a small, barred window above the 2-meter-high cell door. P33 added they could not sleep at the same time and had to take turns sleeping.
Wiedner wanted to know why they were unable to sleep at the same time, asking if it was because they were detained in May/June. P33 said it was very hot inside the cell. They moistened their lips to get at least some liquid to their bodies. They could not take off their clothes because the guards constantly opened the small window to check what was going on inside the cell.
Wiedner recalled that P33 told the court the cells were located in the basement, asking her if there was daylight or if they could tell day from night because for example, the lights were switched on and off accordingly. P33 said there were no lights inside the cell, the only light in the cell shone through the small, barred window from the hallways in front of the cell.
Wiedner asked if P33’s relatives were informed about her and her daughter’s whereabouts. P33 explained that the news about her and her daughters arrest spread in the media and on the internet. The doctor who treated her in the Branch, [name redacted], saw their pictures on the internet and was able to tell P33’s husband that she and her daughter were at Al-Khatib Branch.
Wiedner wanted to know if P33’s family was officially informed by officers at Al-Khatib or the General Intelligence Directorate. P33 denied, adding that an activist posted photos of her and her daughter on Facebook. This activist was also arrested. P33 assumed that the doctor saw these pictures on Facebook, recognized her and her daughter, and felt sorry for them.
Wiedner asked if P33 saw children or juveniles in Al-Khatib Branch. P33 denied.
Wiedner recalled P33 explaining how P32 was taken to P33’s solitary cell by using her own blood to get out of her previous cell. Wiedner then asked P33 if P32 told her any details about how she tried to get out of her previous cell. P33 said P32 did that [using her own blood] just to get out of the cell she was detained. According to P33, P32 did not know that P33 was still at the Branch.
Wiedner further recalled P33 telling the court that P32 approached one of the guards in an attempt to get out of the cell. P33 confirmed, adding that every time P32 was allowed to use the toilet, she begged to talk to Raslan because she knew him from the time her sister was detained.
Wiedner asked if her begging was successful, if P32 met Raslan. P33 denied.
Presiding Judge Kerber intervened, asking if P32 did not tell P33 about it or if P32 did not meet Raslan. P33 said she tried to find out, but P32 did not want to talk about it. All that P33 cared about was that P32 had not been sexually abused.
Judge Wiedner asked if what P33 just described was her only detention. P33 affirmed.
The Judges had a short discussion after which Presiding Judge Kerber said she would now hand over to the prosecutors and maybe intervene if the judges had any more questions arising from the prosecutors’ questioning.
Prosecutor Klinge asked P33 to describe the condition the detainees were in after returning from interrogations. P33 said she saw how a Palestinian woman, around the same age as P33, returned to the cell in a horrible condition. It was obvious that this woman was beaten. P33 recalled a young woman who was taken for interrogation, which lasted ten minutes. After she returned to the cell, she was again called for interrogation. When she returned from the second interrogation, she said she experienced horrible things. However, P33 did not ask about any details. P33 said the young woman sat in a corner, crying for the entire night. One could see bruises on her face, throat, and chest. P33 described that the detainees in the cell tried to comfort the ones who returned from interrogation. However, they never asked for their names, as this “was best for everyone” [to stay anonymous].
Klinge wanted to know if any detainee’s clothes were ripped. P33 affirmed, saying the young woman’s clothes were ripped.
Klinge further asked if P33 saw blood or bruises on other detainees. P33 affirmed.
Klinge asked about P32’s mental and physical condition during detention. P33 was said P32 was in constant shock, she cried and was on the ropes.
Klinge wanted to know if P33 believed P32 when she told P33 after an interrogation that nothing happened to her. P33 said she only asked P32 whether she was sexually harassed or abused and believed that P32 told her the truth about that.
Klinge asked if P33 saw bruises on P32 or noticed something when P32 was walking. P33 said there was no option to walk, so she did not notice that P32 was hobbling. However, P32 had hematomas all over her body.
Klinge wanted to know if P33 saw malnourished detainees. P33 denied, explaining that she was in the shared cell for only four days.
Klinge asked if P33 was able to shower or wash herself. P33 laughed and denied. Klinge asked if she never had the chance [to shower]. P33 denied, saying her skin got inflamed due to the bad hygienic condition.
Klinge wanted to know if P33 knew the names of individual guards at the Branch. P33 said she only knew nicknames. One of the guards was called Abu Ghadab, another one was called Abu Shamaleh.
Klinge asked P33 to describe Abu Ghadab. P33 said he was brutal; his nickname would already indicate that: he was the “father of anger”.
Klinge wanted to know if P33 learned anything about the hierarchy at Al-Khatib while she was detained there. P33 said there was a hierarchy: some people gave orders, others followed orders.
Klinge asked if Anwar Raslan had an important position at the Branch, recalling that P33 described earlier how Raslan gave orders to others when P33 was released. P33 said the guard in this situation [when she was released] was afraid of Raslan.
Klinge wanted to know if P33 suffered any long-term consequences from her detention. P33 said she still had issues with her kidneys.
Klinge asked if she also suffered psychological long-term consequences. P33 affirmed, adding that they occurred recently. P33 said she thought she was done with these issues, however, they reoccurred.
Klinge wanted to know if P33 received psychosocial treatment. P33 denied.
Klinge said he had one last question for P33 if she felt comfortable answering it. He wanted to know about the worst part of P33’s detention. P33 started crying and explained that the worst part for her was, that her daughter was in a different cell and she was unable to help her daughter, although she was so close to her. P33 said she was constantly worried that something would happen to her daughter.
Presiding Judge Kerber said the judges received photos from Criminal Chief Inspector Deußing from the German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA). The judges would now like to visually inspect these photos. Witness counsel Dr. Kroker intervened, saying his client P33 needed a break.
[10 minute break]
Judge Wiedner explained he used one of the previous breaks to contact the BKA and ask for photos. Presiding Judge Kerber added the court would now visually inspect two photos that CCI Deußing sent the judges via email. Kerber asked P33 to identify the people shown in the photos.
[A photo (of Jamil Hassan) was shown in court]
P33 said the man in the photo was sitting behind the desk at the first meeting.
[Another photo of (Jamil Hassan) was shown in court]
P33 said she thinks this is the same person than in the first photo.
Presiding Judge Kerber said these answers would be sufficient. Judge Wiedner explained that he asked CCI Deußing for Photos of Jamil Hassan and Tawfiq Younes. The two photos that were just shown in court were photos of Jamil Hassan, as there would be no photo of Tawfiq Younes on the casefile as Deußing told him.
Plaintiff Counsels’ Questioning
Plaintiff counsel Scharmer asked P33 if she was able to talk to P32 without being disturbed once P32 and P33 were in the same solitary cell. P33 denied, explaining that they were in a cell right next to the guards. The guards would knock on the door at the lowest noise.
Scharmer wanted to know if P33 spoke to P32 about details of P32’s detention once they were both released. P33 denied, saying that P32 did not want to talk about it.
Plaintiff counsel Reiger wanted to know if P33 and her family had to pay money to get P32 released. P33 said to be totally honest, they had to pay money to the Military Intelligence to get her daughter free. She asked if Reiger wanted to know more details. Reiger said her answer would be sufficient for him.
Defense counsel Fratzky wanted to know if P32 mentioned why she wanted to talk to Raslan when she was detained. P33 said P32 wanted to tell Raslan that he knew the family and that she was innocent.
Fratzky asked why P32 wanted to talk to Raslan in particular and not to someone else. P33 said this was because Raslan was the head of the Division.
Defense counsel Böcker asked where exactly P33’s family had to pay money and which daughter was released because of that money. P33 described that P32 was transferred from the Military Intelligence Branch to Adra prison. The papers for her release were supposed to be signed by the Military Intelligence. P33 and her family approached the relevant judges many times, however, they did not want to release P32. The family therefore paid a bribe.
Böcker wanted to know when they paid the bribe. P33 said it was at the end of P32’s detention, around July 18, .
Böcker concluded that the bribe was paid a long time after P32 was detained in Al-Khatib or the Military Intelligence Branch. P33 affirmed, adding that P32 was detained in Al-Khatib Branch for 23 days, before being transferred to the Military Intelligence and then to Adra prison. However, P32’s file stayed with the Military Intelligence who was in charge of releasing P32.
Presiding Judge Kerber thanked P33, she was dismissed as witness. P33 thanked Judge Kerber, adding in German: “You [2nd person singular] are a very nice person.” Judge Kerber thanked P33 for the compliment and thanked her saying “Shukran”.
Judge Kerber explained to the parties she would hand out copies of the legal reference and the relevant Arabic translation. She added the prosecutors would now have time to issue their formal statement until April 25, 2021. Kerber further explained that the court received a letter from attorney Scharmer, requesting the inclusion of P33 as plaintiff. Kerber asked if any of the parties had objections to this, defense, prosecutors and other plaintiff counsels said they had no objections, agreeing that the judges could now make a decision on this matter in a timely manner. Judge Kerber went on to say that the judges further received two requests to include two other people as plaintiffs as well. Both people were not yet interviewed. Kerber said the BKA asked the Berlin State Criminal Police Office (LKA) for the interviews of both people, however up to this very moment, CCI Deußing sent the judges a transcript of the interview of one of them, however, without attachments. Kerber considered the transcript to be sufficient, nonetheless. The second person had not been interviewed yet, the judges told the relevant counsel to agree on a date until April 27, 2021. If counsel would not cooperate in finding a date within the given time frame, the police would be free to set any date. Defense counsel Böcker asked who the relevant counsel was. Kerber said her name was Otto-Hanschmann.
Proceedings adjourned at 3:05PM.
The next session will be on May 5, 2021.
 Throughout this report, [information located in brackets are notes from our trial monitor] and “information placed in quotes are statements made by the witness, judges or counsel.” Note that this report does not purport to be a transcript of the trial; it is merely an unofficial summary of the proceedings. The names of witnesses have been redacted.