Inside the Raslan Trial #19: Eyewitness Declares 90% Certainty That Raslan Beat Him
TRIAL OF ANWAR RASLAN and EYAD AL GHARIB
Higher Regional Court – Koblenz, Germany
Trial Monitoring Report 19
Hearing dates of November 25 and 26, 2020
CAUTION: Some testimony includes descriptions of torture.
Summary / Highlights:
Trial Day 46 – November 25, 2020
P20, a former detainee at Al-Khatib, testified about his experience being treated for an injury and shared the conditions injured detainees were forced to endure without any proper medical assistance. During his two detentions in Al-Khatib, P20 was interrogated by an officer who he describes as “elegant,” and having distinctive features and a mole. However, P20 could not remember the interrogator’s accent. P20 made two sketches mapping out the interrogator’s office and the detainees’ chamber, noting the juxtaposition between the calm office and the overcrowded conditions in the chamber. P20 said that state detentions are secret and like abductions, as his family and friends were not informed of his whereabouts or if he was alive. After leaving Syria, P20 recognized the photo of Raslan during French and German police questioning. P20 recognized Raslan from an interrogation when his blindfold had shifted up and stated that he was “90% positive” that Raslan was his interrogator. During proceedings, P20 pointed at Raslan and said he was confident that he was the same man who interrogated and hit him in Al-Khatib.
Trial Day 47 – November 26, 2020
P20 continued his testimony clarifying the details of when he recognized Raslan’s photo during police questioning. There was concern that P20 felt under pressure during the court session, however, he stated he was willingly taking part in the trial. He did share that his first police questioning in France reminded him of Syria, but his second questioning was shorter and led to his identification of Raslan. Translation errors during court proceedings led to miscommunication and confusion over both the timeline of P20’s police questionings as well as over whether the interrogator, whom P20 named as Raslan, wore a uniform.
Trial Day 46 – November 25, 2020
The proceedings began at 9:30 am. There were four spectators and two individuals from the media present.
Plaintiff Counsels Dr. Patrick Kroker and Dr. Anna Oehmichen did not attend. Deputy Plaintiff Counsel Charlotte Foerster-Baldenius appeared for Khubaib Ali Mohammad.
P12 attended and sat among the plaintiffs’ representatives.
P20 entered the courtroom accompanied by his counsel attorney Mrs. von der Behrens and another unidentified woman.
Judge Kerber said that if the woman would like, she can sit in the front, next to the witness [She followed these directions and sat at the front next to the witness and his attorney.]
Von de Behrens said that the witness fears for his family in Syria and does not want to give personal information. Defense Counsel Michael Böcker asked about the woman who accompanied the witness and inquired about the consequences of his testimony in Syria. Von de Behrens said that the situation is problematic and P20’s name could cause his family problems. Judge Kerber said that she received a fax the prior day regarding the request to not share this information. Böcker said that he would like to have a look at that fax [Judge Kerber distributed copies of the document].
Von de Behrens asked if the accompanying woman could get a headset [she was given a pair of headphones].
Judge Kerber requested that spectators and media personnel leave the courtroom until the court takes a decision.
At 10:55 [after around 5 – 10 minutes] the spectators were allowed back in the courtroom.
Judge Kerber announced that P12 will be allowed to cover his face and abstain from giving personal information.
Instructions were read out to P20 and he was informed about his rights as a witness.
Testimony of P20
Judge Kerber asked if P20 wanted to indicate if he was related to the accused by blood or marriage. P20 responded, no, he is not.
Judge Kerber asked P20 to tell the court about his CV. She explained that the court knows that he was detained and wanted to know the reason why and how he came into conflict with the regime. P20 said that he will talk in general about his detention in Al-Khatib, where he was detained twice. P20 pointed out that he did not prepare anything, regarding his memory and numbers [he meant that numbers/dates could potentially not be very accurate]. The first detention was from March 25, 2011 until April 1, 2011. The second one was from April 5, 2012 through July 10, 2012. The reason for the first detention was participation in a demonstration in Duma (دوما), rural Damascus. The security forces began to attack along with militias and “order-preserving forces” [Most likely, he was referring to “riot control forces”]. They were beaten brutally and were taken in mini-buses to Al-Khatib. On arrival, there was a welcome party, like in other branches, where detainees are brutally beaten without being charged. P20 was beaten in the square/yard and the mini-bus – ten times on his eye with the baton/stick suffering serious injuries and broken teeth. Inside Al-Khatib, he was kicked by the member/personnel [عنصر] causing two rib fractures. He fell to the ground and was not able to breathe. P20 was carried up four steps and was brought, along with 70 detainees, inside a room with an iron ceiling, which was approximately 70m2. It was overlooked by interrogation rooms and administrative offices. The big dormitory/chamber [cell] looked as if it was recently/freshly painted white (behind the white was red blood). A few hours later, paramedics from the Red Crescent entered to succor the wounded and suture the wounds, which was done in an unhygienic way. After that, one of the paramedics registered P20’s name and requested that he get transferred to the hospital. P20 was transferred there (to the hospital) along with five other people. They were tied to wheelchairs. They entered Al-Mojtahed المجتهد hospital and the emergency department [ER] where there were other people and visitors. There were five armed members [عناصر] with P20, who were telling people that P20 was a sniper. He was insulted and spat on [by people] in the hospital. After that, the doctor asked P20 for his name. The member intervened and requested that a triple-digit be registered (it was known to the public that if one dies, no name would be available). P20 was treated violently by the doctor and in the emergency department. If P20 needed to get up, the security member violently pulled him up. A chest x-ray was done and P20’s eye was examined. He was told that he would not be able to see with that eye anymore. P20 was taken back to bed and was given an injection. On the bus, an Al-Khatib personnel member tore the prescription throwing insults at P20 saying that he and the other detainees should die.
Judge Kerber asked if P20 was told whether he had a chest problem after the x-ray. P20 said that he did not know, he was given medicine and a prescription which was torn up.
Judge Kerber asked if he had fractured ribs. P20 responded that he had fractures in two ribs.
Judge Kerber asked how he knew that. P20 said that he later went to Hamdan hospital (مشفى حمدان) and they told P20 that for some reason they could not examine his eye, because the doctor of Al-Mojtahed… [P20 was interrupted].
Judge Kerber interjected, “and now?” P20 said that it was a false piece of information. After six months of treatment with medicine, he was able to see again.
P20 continued saying that he went [was taken] back to Al-Khatib (after leaving the hospital) and was hit with rifle butts despite his health condition. P20 was summoned the following day for the interrogation. P20 does not know if it was on the second or third floor because he was blindfolded. P20 entered a room that was different from normal rooms. There was an officer with a suit [sometimes بدلة was translated to “uniform” and understood as “military uniform,” which is not accurate as “military uniform” is بدلة عسكرية. This caused some misunderstanding later on] and glossy dress shoes. He [the officer/interrogator] asked P20 about his connections to one of P20’s relatives saying [indirectly] that he [the family member] is affiliated with the [Muslim] Brotherhood. The officer/interrogator accused P20 of being part of an Islamic fighting group. It was somewhat of a shock, but P20 felt that it was a joke. P20 told him to ask logically because his family is completely non-religious atheists. The interrogator slapped P20 twice, hitting his abdomen with his knee. P20 was able to recognize/distinguish him. P20’s eye was not alright and he was staggering, but the blindfold was pushed up a bit. The interrogator stood a distance from P20, but as he raised his head, P20 saw him and recognized/identified him. P20 said that he can assert 90% [he is 90% sure] that he [the interrogator] is the same person in the picture that was published in the media about Raslan.
Böcker wanted to make sure that he understood and asked if the witness said that he recognized the accused. [The translator repeated P20’s above answer].
Judge Kerber asked what happened after that. P20 said that he was taken downstairs by members/guards [عناصر] to the same big dormitory/chamber [cell] with the iron ceiling. The following day, he was interrogated about participating in a demonstration in Duma (considering that he came from a different area) and he was tortured with Falaqa. Within half an hour [it was not clear if P20 meant that he was tortured for 30 minutes, or if the whole interrogation plus the torture lasted that long], P20 went back to the room [cell]. He did not confess to participating in a demonstration. He was beaten two or three times. Later, P20 confessed to participating in a demonstration. They were released from detention after they were forced to sign a blank paper and another paper – a pledge to not demonstrate again. They were taken by bus to the Duma municipality square [and released]. That was everything concerning the first detention. Regarding the second one, an office was stormed on April 05, and he was detained along with…
Judge Kerber interrupted asking what year this occurred. P20 responded 2012. Five people were taken to Division 40 and beaten violently. There was an interrogation and violent beating because there were photos against President Bashar al-Assad on the laptop. The interrogation was violent. The following day, P20 and the other four were transferred to Al-Khatib to the same place (the same big chamber). Before that, they stayed in the corridor (that leads to the chamber) for a week. After a week [of sitting/staying there], the manager of the prison (this is a known term, but P20 didn’t know who that person exactly was) let them enter the place. In the big dormitory/chamber [cell], there were around 350 detainees. P20 was not sure but counted approximately this many people. There was no place to walk – simply, one had to step on others or fall over them. After two weeks in that place (P20 was beaten several times by Abu Ghadab أبو غضب and Memati ميماتي), P20 was punished by being transferred to a dark room where there were 50 other detainees. He stayed there for five days, before being transferred back again to the big chamber. After four days, they [P20 and the four others he was arrested with] were taken for interrogation. They did not have the laptop and the accusation was obvious (when they were detained in Division 40, they took the laptops). The interrogator asked P20 why he came there and for the reason of his detention. P20 and the interrogator talked about the first detention and P20 said that he was from the honest opposition and that he supports the democratic dialogue with the president. Based on that, he [the interrogator] acknowledged P20’s and the honest opposition’s position that accepts Bashar Al-Assad [“Honest opposition” is a Syrian term referring to people who support Bashar al-Assad but publicly say they oppose the government. It is a nuanced term signifying that a person does not support the “Opposition,” but they are not outwardly Assad loyalists]. Then, P20 was taken back to the chamber [cell]. He stayed there for 21 days in total. Four days after that interrogation, he was transferred along with four others to the General Intelligence Directorate in Kafar Souseh كفرسوسة, which is a different story.
Judge Kerber asked P20 how he and his eye are today after that experience. P20 said that regarding his eye, he had a six-month treatment. He fixed his teeth and is breathing, but he suffers psychological problems. He shared that he does not have the guts to go to a doctor and tell his story, but he has gotten better and he draws [sketches/paintings].
Judge Kerber asked if P20 sleeps well or has nightmares. P20 replied no, he always has nightmares.
Judge Kerber asked if he continued his study. P20 replied that he studied and graduated, but he still has psychological problems, stress and panic attacks.
Judge Kerber asked if he works. P20 answered that he works from home.
Judge Kerber asked how he works. P20 said that he works on computers from home.
Judge Kerber asked when P20 participated in the demonstration in Duma. P20 replied that it was on Friday that preceded March 25th. They were in Duma (maybe March 19 – 20), which was the first demonstration in Duma.
Judge Kerber asked about the time between his first demonstration and first detention. P20 said that the question was not clear. Judge Kerber repeated the question. P20 responded that it was one week.
Judge Kerber said that she has different information. In the transcript, it says that P20’s first demonstration was on March 25 and he was detained on April 1st. P20 said that the difference is that there were two successive Fridays. They finished a demonstration and prepared for the next one.
Judge Kerber asked if P20 was detained on March 25th or April 1st. P20 replied, March 25th.
Judge Kerber asked how P20 knew that it was Al-Khatib. P20 said that Syrians and activists, in general, know the names of the branches, especially Al-Khatib due to its location inside a residential area.
Judge Kerber asked if P20 was able to see while he was transported. P20 said that he was able to estimate/guess because he lived in the area for seven years. He saw the Red Crescent hospital branch at the corner of Al-Khatib. He has no doubt [that it was Al-Khatib].
Judge Kerber asked if he was blindfolded while transported. P20 said no, not on the way.
Judge Kerber asked how many times P20 was interrogated during his first detention. P20 said it was two or three times, aside from going upstairs to the office.
Judge Kerber said that she understood that it was four times in total. P20 replied, “ok.”
Judge Kerber said that it is not about what she thinks, but rather what he experienced. P20 said that by “interrogation,” he meant Falaqa with members/guards [عناصر] questioning him. Regarding the office, it was a question and two slaps.
Judge Kerber asked if P20 could remember when he went to the office for interrogation for the first time. P20 said after he came back from the hospital, he went to the office on the third floor, and there, he saw the officer that he recognized. That was the first time.
Judge Kerber refreshed P20’s recollection saying that he had said in the police questioning that “I went to the office at 7:00 am for the interrogation, was tortured with Falaqa, then was brought back to the cell.” Judge Kerber asked if P20 was tortured with Falaqa before he was brought back. P20 said that it happened [that he indeed told that the police], but now he remembers that he went upstairs to him [the interrogator] and the beating was the following day. Later on, he was summoned and interrogated because he participated in the demonstration and he was beaten.
Judge Kerber asked if P20 wanted a break. P20 responded, no.
Judge Kerber asked how P20 knew it was the second or third floor. P20 explained that he was on the staircase seeing the steps in front of him although he was blindfolded.
Judge Kerber asked how many steps he went up. P20 said he did not know.
Judge Kerber asked P20 to describe the office where he saw the interrogator. P20 said he sketched it for the French and German police. There were two sofas on the side, a wooden desk and a clothes-hanger-stand. The granite tiles [this was translated as “floor tiles,” hence the next question] were brown with white dots. There were plants and a brown- or black-leathered chair.
Judge Kerber asked if the floor was wood. P20 said that it was not wood but granite tiles.
Judge Kerber asked if there were any pictures. P20 replied that, of course, all offices [in Syria] have pictures of Hafez al-Assad and Bashar al-Assad that he saw from a distance, but he remembers the flooring, window, and plants well. The window was to his right when he entered.
Judge Kerber showed a sketch on the projector then removed it as P20’s attorney said that they wanted to check if there was a name on it. P20 and his attorney went to the judge’s panel and checked the sketch and covered the signature. It was shown once again [and below].
Judge Kerber asked P20 to describe/explain what was on the sketch. P20 [explaining the sketch] said, “I waited at the door. I was taking a glance around when the interrogator was looking back at his table [desk].” P20 said the last time he looked, the interrogator came up to him and he could identify his face.
Judge Kerber asked P20 about the height of the interrogator. P20 said a bit taller than himself.
Judge Kerber asked whether he was taller or shorter than P20. P20 repeated that he was as tall or taller. It is not precise, because he was far away until he was provoked, then he came and hit P20. P20 cannot say precisely.
Judge Kerber asked P20 to give his height. P20 replied, 175 cm.
Judge Kerber asked if the interrogator had a beard. P20 said no, only a mustache. He was elegant and P20 smelled the scent of perfume.
Judge Kerber asked if there was a distinguishing feature on his [interrogator’s] face. P20 said that he does not remember, but regarding the mole, it was 100% distinguishable. However, his facial features are also distinguishable, for example, his eyes, nose…etc (the mole was not everything).
Judge Kerber asked if he is the same person sitting to the right [Raslan]. P20 replied, “I am certain.”
Judge Kerber asked which one. [P20 pointed to Raslan] P20 said, the person in the black jacket.
Judge Kerber asked if P20 was on his knees or standing up. P20 said he was standing up the whole time.
Judge Kerber asked how he hit P20 in the stomach. P20 said it was with his knee and before that he slapped P20.
Judge Kerber asked P20 if it was in the stomach or the abdomen. Judge Kerber said that she finds it hard to picture how he was able to hit P20’s stomach with his knee. P20 replied that he finds it strange as well, but that is what happened.
Judge Kerber responded, “but on your abdomen.” P20 affirmed.
Judge Kerber asked if the interrogator spat on P20. P20 said he did not remember at that moment [it was unclear whether P20 meant that he did not remember if he was spat on at that particular time or if he did not remember at that moment in court].
Judge Kerber refreshed P20’s recollection and quoted the police hearing transcript from August 18, 2016 [The court monitor recorded this as 2017 previously, so it is unconfirmed whether the police hearing took place August 18, 2016 or August 18, 2017] “I was tortured with Falaqa, then beaten, blindfolded and taken to an officer in an office who accused me of being an Islamist”. P20 responded that he was talking about the same interrogation.
Judge Kerber repeated the question of whether P20 was spat on. P20 repeated the same answer [“I do not remember at that moment”].
Judge Kerber asked what the interrogator was wearing. P20 said a suit.
Judge Kerber refreshed P20’s recollection and quoted from the second French police hearing on April 2, 2019, “I was beaten on the way and was blindfolded and went upstairs to the second or third floor. I waited half an hour. He accused me of being an Islamist.” P20 said this was correct.
Judge Kerber continued, “He punched/hit me in the jaw.” Judge Kerber asked if it was a punch or if he was kneed. P20 said he was hit with the hand and the knee.
Judge Kerber asked if P20 recalls if the officer had a certain dialect. P20 said he did not remember.
Judge Kerber asked if P20 remembers his answer concerning the question about the dialect in the Federal Criminal Police Office hearing. P20 said, “At this moment, I do not remember my answer.”
Judge Kerber quoted from the hearing transcript, “It was an Alawite dialect.” P20 responded no, he does not recall that it was an Alawite dialect.
Judge Kerber asked if it was a Damascene dialect. P20 said he did not remember.
Judge Kerber asked if it was a dialect which everybody understands, similar to standard German. P20 said perhaps he [the officer] had a “white dialect” [This is the same term used by P19], but he does not remember. But he remembered that it was not an Alawite dialect.
Judge Kerber asked if P20 saw corpses during his first or second detention. P20 said he saw some in the second detention. P20 mentioned the sketch of the cell, saying he was not sure if it was available. In the toilet, there were some blankets that were in bad condition. In a small corner was an injured person who was bleeding from his abdomen. The blood turned orange in color and his legs were infected. P20 remembers that there were worms on his leg because of the infections and pus. The injured individual was unable to climb on the toilet seat and “made it on himself” [defecated/wet himself]. He was brought outside the dormitory/chamber and they [the detainees] told the prison guard that he died. The prison guard told the people [detainees] to throw him [the injured/dead] outside. Also, P20 remembered two people who died under torture. Moreover, there were two under-aged (15 or 16-year-olds) who were in that cramped place and their condition was very bad. In general, in that place [where the injured individual was, near the blankets] were the people whose condition was the worst, because if one could move, one would not stay there.
Judge Kerber asked if the two people died under torture, or if that was a guess. P20 said his memory is connected to several branches, so he cannot remember if it was in Al-Khatib or another branch.
Judge Kerber asked if P20’s second detention was in 2012 or 2013. P20 replied, 2012.
Judge Kerber said that in the August 18, 2016 hearing P20 had said that it was in 2013, in the middle of June. P20 said that he thinks that there was a memory mistake, as sometimes his memory fails him. His detention was documented by VDC [Violations Documentation Center] and he asserted that his second detention was in 2012, not in 2013.
Judge Kerber asked if it was May or April. P20 replied, April.
Judge Kerber said that the court will continue for an hour, then take a lunch break, and continue afterward.
Judge Wiedner asked if P20 recognized the officer whom he described as Raslan, when he was asked in the Federal Criminal Police Office. P20 said at the beginning he answered that he [Raslan] was just an officer. A group/collection of photos of different people were shown to him. He thought that they were detainees who were with him in Al-Khatib. He put Raslan’s photo among the photos of people he recognized. It was very likely that he identified Raslan in that first moment. Later, P20 remembered that this person is indeed the person he saw [during the interrogation].
Judge Kerber said that she wanted to show the photos from the minutes of the April 2, 2019 hearing. She asked P20 if she should cover his signature on them. P20 said that he does not know if it was his signature or his initials. Judge Kerber said that she would cover the signature.
[2 photos were shown, one was Raslan’s]
Questioning by Judge Wiedner
Judge Wiedner asked if P20 remembered the photos that were shown to him. P20 said a group/collection of photos were shown to him by the French and the German police. These were from the German police.
Judge Wiedner asked if P20 remembered what he said in the police hearing about how “the officer was taller than me.” P20 said he remembered saying it.
Judge Wiedner asked if P20 saw pictures of Raslan before the questioning/hearing. P20 said no, the first time was during the questioning by the French and German police.
Judge Wiedner said that he meant before that. Böcker interrupted saying that he did not understand the answer. P20 explained that he was saying that these pictures were first shown to him during the police questioning.
Judge Wiedner asked if P20 saw pictures of Raslan before the police questioning, for example on the internet. P20 said he did not see any picture of Raslan on the internet.
Judge Wiedner reiterated that P20 said the same thing in the questioning. Judge Wiedner said that P20 mentioned the name Raslan in the Federal German Police Office questioning and asked P20 how he knew the name or related it to the photo. P20 said the name was not related at the beginning. He [Raslan] was just the officer who hit him (the question P20 was asked was similar to: “Have you seen these faces, has anyone of them tortured you or hit you?”).
Judge Wiedner said that he was asking because Raslan’s name was mentioned in the German police questioning. P20 said this was what happened at the French police questioning: He was shown photos and he said that he might know this person [Raslan]. However, it happened [mentioning the name “Raslan”] later at the German police. The news afterward [after the French police questioning] on the internet was that Raslan was caught [arrested] and his name was circulated. Talking about Raslan had been done with the German police.
Judge Wiedner said that he wants to jump to the second detention in Al-Khatib. Regarding the dead person, how did P20 know that he was dead? P20 said he does not have a medical answer, but the talk was that he died and when the people carried him, he did not move.
Judge Wiedner asked who were the people who said that he died. P20 said the people who were detained with him in the branch because the dormitory/chamber is big and it is difficult to move because it is full of people.
Judge Kerber wanted to show a sketch and asked P20 to come forward to see if he wanted to cover something.
[The part that is supposed to show the signature was covered and the sketch was shown].
P20 said in his second detention, he stayed there [marked with black*]. It was difficult to walk [through] to the sink. P20 said in this place [marked with red triangle] it was too damp and was full of worms. There [marked with red!] were the children and the ones who could not move [the weak people]. The injured were here [at the toilet] then were moved inside [marked with red triangle] (He did not remember how). Later, the man died and was moved next to the door and remained there for some time (P20 does not remember for how long). The dots P20 drew indicate how the person was carried to the outside. That [marked with red*] is a person whom P20 got to know. He is from Damascus and had a tattoo. They took him and returned him tortured with blood on him. His fingernails and body were blue. His feet were swollen and he was not able to walk. They opened the door and he fell on the floor. The young men pulled him and put him there. They interrogated P20 in this [marked with?] room and they were watching the detainees through the windows. The room to the left was either for interrogation or administration. The elderly used to sit near the door because there was some air when the door opens.
Judge Wiedner asked how big the window was. P20 said it was 1.5 x 2 meters.
Judge Wiedner asked if it was opened or if one could see through it. P20 said there was glass and iron [bars/mesh], but one could not clearly see through it.
Judge Wiedner asked if they got air inside the cell through the door. P20 confirmed.
Judge Wiedner asked if there were other sources of ventilation. P20 said he remembered that here [marked with black!] was a gap between the iron ceiling and the wall. We [the detainees] could differentiate day from night [through it], but it was not a source of ventilation.
Judge Wiedner asked if the cell was underground in the basement. P20 said that the place was [originally] a garden, but it was a bit lower than ground level.
Judge Wiedner asked if it is correct that at the top left [of the sketch] is where the person died. P20 said that the question was not clear. Judge Wiedner repeated the question. P20 confirmed.
Judge Wiedner refreshed the recollection of P20 by quoting that he had said that the hygiene was bad and that detainees easily contracted infections. P20 said yes, due to the high temperature, any small wound turned into inflammation/infection in one or two days. One time, P20 and other detainees did a small operation: they took a piece of the paint and incised a toe of a person, because it was so inflamed/infected. He was in a lot pain. P20 and the other detainees were forced to hold the man down to make the incision. There was no medicine and they were not able to get medicine or disinfectant.
Judge Wiedner refreshed P20’s recollection quoting that he had said that the person who died remained next to the door for days. The corpse stank and they were not able to go to the toilet. P20 said yes, he used to wet himself.
Judge Wiedner quoted P20 saying that he had said that next to the door it stank. P20 confirmed.
Judge Wiedner quoted “they put the person near the toilet. It was damp and molding. The person was wounded.” P20 responded, correct.
Judge Wiedner refreshed P20’s recollection quoting, “when he died, he was carried out and relocated.” P said yes, a number of people struggled to carry/relocate the body.
Judge Wiedner once again refreshed P20’s recollection that P20 had said that “It was difficult to see through the windows. P20 was interrogated in the room to the right.” P20 said yes, in the first detention he was interrogated there. It was difficult to see, but P20 remembers that when he was in the room, he was able to see the inside of the [cell].
Judge Wiedner asked if that happened in 2011 and if it was in the first, second or the third interrogation. P20 said it was the second or third.
Judge Wiedner said that P20 had answered the question, “how he knew that the person was dead” by saying that “the detainees said that and he had wounds in the abdomen that looked like a gunshot wound.” P20 replied that he cannot affirm that it was a gunshot, but based on the color of blood and there was a spot that looked like it. Therefore, it was possible that it was a gunshot wound.
Judge Wiedner asked if the person got help. P20 said he never did, but he was bandaged.
Judge Wiedner asked if the personnel were informed that the person needed help. P20 said that the officers and members/personnel/guards [عناصر] could always see the person as he was next to the door [marked with the red question mark on the sketch]. It was clear that there was a wounded person. It was difficult to see him when he was in the area with the blankets, but here [marked with red] he was clearly noticed. His condition became bad and the member/guard [عنصر] was like “he [the person] is stinking and has to be relocated inside.”
Judge Wiedner refreshed P20’s recollection saying “P20 did not speak with him and he was stowed inside.” P20 confirmed.
Judge Wiedner once again quoted, “there was an elderly detainee in the second detention.” P20 confirmed.
Judge Wiedner recalled that P20 stated, “there was no medical care until he died. P20 was asked how he knew that the person died. P20 answered that people said that and carried him. P20 witnessed them carrying him.” P20 said that he does not have anything to add.
Judge Wieder asked how big the external cell was and how many detainees were there. P20 said I think that it was five or six meters by ten meters. The distance between the pillars was three meters. With that logic: if one can estimate that between two pillars there were 75 people, then the total number would be 350 people. People were literally on top of each other.
Judge Wiedner asked if P20 had a place to sleep. P20 said no. The problem was that if one wanted to sleep, another person would sleep on top of him and then another person…after half an hour, one could not breathe because there were three people on top of him.
Judge Wiedner asked if P20 heard something from the rooms overlooking the cell. P20 said that he does not remember hearing anything or anyone speaking.
Judge Wiedner said that P20 said in the police hearing that he used to constantly hear the screams of detainees. P20 said they used to always hear the torture sounds. In a certain room, sometimes the sounds were so close and it seemed that they came from here [P20 pointed at the sketch, though the court monitor could not see which area he pointed to]. But, the Damascene person, for example, they heard his voice coming from a more distant place.
Judge Wiedner asked about the general condition of the rooms, the detainees, and the injuries. He also asked if the food was sufficient and about P20’s body condition. P20 said that, in general, the situation was bad in comparison to other branches. P20 stated that he can say that being at Al-Khatib during his second detention period, was very bad. There was no medical care nor medicine. Food consisted of a piece of potato, a piece of bread, and cucumber. At night there was tahini halva or a piece of bread with olives. It was bad. For anyone who had wounds or inflammations, it was very bad. If one entered the blanket area, it was hell – the end/terminal point. In short, it was hell.
Judge Wiedner asked what torturing methods P20 witnessed or was told about by other detainees. P20 said the ones he saw/witnessed were the normal sticks; the “tire stick” (made from tires) was too thick.
Judge Wiedner asked if P20 experienced being beaten with it himself. P20 said yes, Memati hit me with it.
Judge Wiedner asked if P20 experienced other methods of torture or if he heard about them. P20 said he did not know [if he heard about] torturing methods other than sticks.
Judge Wiedner asked about getting hit on the feet with sticks. P20 said yes, Falaqa: a belt was tied to a stick and wrapped around the legs to fixate them. Perhaps the method of torture is changed to a device that fixates the legs for the beating.
Judge Wiedner asked if P20 witnessed or was told about hanging someone from the hands. P20 said that personally no, not in Al-Khatib. It happened with him in other branches.
Judge Wiedner repeated, asking about Al-Khatib. P20 reiterated that in Al-Khatib he was not hung.
Judge Wiedner asked if P20 heard if anyone experienced it. P20 replied that right now, he does not remember.
Judge Wiedner said that he understood that P20’s first detention was in March 2011. P20 replied, correct.
Judge Wiedner asked how long it lasted. P20 said one week, until April 1, 2011.
Judge Wiedner asked how long P20 stayed in Al-Khatib in his second detention. P20 said approximately 21 days.
Judge Wiedner reminded P20 that he had said that the second detention was in 2012 and asked if P20 could confirm that. P20 confirmed, yes in 2012. There was a celebration of the anniversary of the Syrian revolution and other personal details, e.g. Al-Houla الحولة massacre happened when he was in prison in 2012. There were incidents in Syria and some personal things that P20 relates to that time [to his detention].
Judge Wiedner asked P20 to talk about it in general. P20 said that after his release, the Al-Houla massacre was a shock because it was a massacre in an area that he knows. There were also personal events in 2012 [P20 counseled his attorney] regarding a person. It concerns where P20 comes from and it can identify him.
Judge Wiedner asked if the Al-Houla massacre happened before or after P20’s detention. P20 said he got the news when he was in detention. There was a new detainee who told the other detainees that. Additionally, the activist Basel Shehadeh باسل شحادة was targeted by the Syrian regime and was killed in Homs in 2012. Some detainees who entered the prison had participated in the memorial prayer of Basel, but P20 was in the military police services.
Judge Wiedner asked how the name of the mentioned person [Basel Shehadeh] is written. [The translator spelled out the name].
Judge Wiedner asked when P20 left Syria. [P20 counseled his attorney] and said he left Syria in July 2014.
Judge Wiedner said that he was asking because P20 specified the date to the French police. [P20 counseled his attorney] P20 replied that frankly, it is related to the memory and the years, it is connected to a certain event. When the questioning is in a normal context, he remembers the event better, unlike when it is in a direct question (when did you leave?). It has to be in a certain context to remember it.
Judge Wiedner asked if P20 did not think about it now. P20 said yes, he did not think about it. He cannot say which day exactly, but most probably, it was July 16th.
Judge Wiedner recalled that P20 went to another place after Al-Khatib in his second detention. Judge Wiedner asked when that was and how long it lasted. P20 said what he remembers is 21 days in Al-Khatib; one day in Division 40 (before Al-Khatib); three weeks in the General Intelligence; two weeks in the political security in Al-Maysat الميسات and Al-Fayha’ الفيحاء (near the stadium).
Judge Wiedner asked if the General Intelligence Directorate was in Kafar Souseh. P20 confirmed.
Judge Wiedner asked when that was. P20 responded that he thinks it was on July 5, 2012.
Judge Wiedner recalled that P20 mentioned Basel Shehadeh and asked if P20 was in the military intelligence services when the incident happened. P20 said he was in the military police services before the transfer to the military jurisdiction.
Judge Wiedner asked whether it was the military police or intelligence. P20 said the [military] police.
Judge Wiedner asked where that was. P20 said in the military police in Al-Qaboun القابون.
Judge Wiedner recalled that P20 said that his second detention was in Division 40 and asked how P20 knew that it was Division 40. P20 said he knew by the way they took them from As-Salehiyyeh الصالحية to Division 40. There are places/locations that the public know well. There is a detail related to Division 40: as a result of the crazy beating, P20 thought about committing suicide and jumping from the fourth floor. There was an iron staircase or a door. He was tied near that place. It was clear that there was a sound coming from a window and he was not blindfolded. He looked through the window and saw Al-Jisr Al-Abyad الجسر الأبيض, which he knew. It was a crazy thought and P20 abandoned it.
Judge Wiedner asked if P20 was transferred to Al-Khatib a day later. P20 said yes, with a group of people.
Judge Wiedner asked if the personnel who transported P20 to Al-Khatib stayed in Al-Khatib. P20 said he cannot specify that [he does not know].
Judge Wiedner wanted to go back to P20’s first detention in March 2011. Judge Wiedner said that P20 participated in two demonstrations. Judge Wiedner asked what P20 experienced in them and if there were injuries or death. P20 said that on the Friday that preceded his detention, he was in Duma. When the demonstration emerged, it was attacked (the civilians) and a group of people was detained. The demonstration continued and there was a sit-in at the municipality square. The security [forces] stormed the people and beat them at night/in the evening. In the demonstration that led to P20’s detention, there was violent beating and he heard that 11 people from Duma died. Their funerals were on the same day.
Judge Wiedner asked whether P20 saw the dead, or heard about them. P20 said they were being detained and after that, they opened fire on the demonstrators. Later, after he was released, P20 knew about what happened and watched videos (that are still available today) that show the shooting on the demonstrators.
Judge Wiedner asked if P20 witnessed that himself. P20 replied no, his friends told him that and he watched videos, one of them was filmed by his friend. He also participated in the funeral of 11 people on the third day, April 3 or 4 [It is unclear if he meant the 11 people who died during the demonstration, as the timeline of his arrest does not indicate that].
Judge Wiedner asked if that was before or after P20’s detention. P20 replied after he was released.
Judge Wiedner recalled that P20 said that he saw security forces attacking the demonstration and watched videos. Judge Wiener asked what P20 witnessed and if he can specify which security forces they were: e.g. soldiers, Shabiha, Intelligence services. P20 said he saw security gatherings (in Duma) during the demonstration. Some of them had the uniform of the riot control police (oil-green color) and were alone in a set place. On the other side, there were security forces with their cars with the street between them. A few meters away was another group who started beating [demonstrators]. Next to them were security cars, which were known from their numbers [license plates] and the pictures of Bashar and Maher [al-Assad] on their rear windows. There were Shabiha on the sides who were carrying chains without weapons. The civilians were attacked and some of the people who were beating them in the square took people to Al-Khatib and some of them stayed with the demonstrators there.
Judge Wiedner asked if P20 saw weapons or shooting. P20 said they had Kalashnikovs.
Judge Wiedner refreshed P20’s recollection that in the French police hearing he had said that there was systematic beating in the first detention. P20 said the question is not clear.
Judge Wiedner said that P20 mentioned a person who was beaten. P20 said that there were security forces who brought them and were inside Al-Khatib branch. While the detainees were in the corridor, one of the forces kicked P20 fracturing P20’s ribs. There were witnesses and security forces were with them.
Judge Wiedner said that he meant something else. Judge Wiedner said that P20 mentioned in the French police hearing that a person fell on the ground and perhaps died. P20 replied that he does not remember now.
Judge Wiedner refreshed P20’s recollection quoting, “some detainees fell on the ground and P20 thought that one of them fell and P20 was not sure if he died”. P20 said that in the “welcome party,” some people died. His friend died under torture in Homs during the “welcome party” and something else could have happened to P20 [in another scenario] and he could have died. He lost his breath [was not able to breathe well] until the evening.
Judge Kerber asked if P20 wanted a 10-minute break. P20 said, ok.
Questioning by Prosecutor Polz
Polz asked if P20’s family or friends were notified about P20’s detention. P20 said never, there was no notification from the authorities to his family.
Polz asked if P20 was able to communicate with them. P20 said never, the communication [with the outside] was through the new detainees. In both detentions, the authorities told [P20’s family] nothing about his situation, although his family tried to communicate and find out about his fate, there was no answer.
Polz refreshed P20’s recollection stating that he was asked during the French police questioning whether his family was notified and P20 said “no, they knew through my friends, but the authorities did not notify them. The detainee has no right to communicate and the detention was secretive.” P20 responded, correct.
Polz asked if it is true that the detention was secretive. P20 said, exactly. In Syria, it is a secret and there is no information about the detainee. The more correct term is abduction. His example is relatable: in both detentions, there was no charge and if the detainees asked a question about the reason for the detention, there would be no answer. And there is no right to communicate with the outside, nor whether the outside knows about us. Sometimes, [body] searching the detainee by the security [personnel] is done at the beginning, so that the family does not get information [It was not clear what P20 meant by this statement. The court monitor conjectures that maybe P20 meant that security searches are done at the beginning so that one’s phone is taken away to avoid calling].
Polz said that P20 mentioned Falaqa and asked how many people were there during the procedure. P20 said essentially two people tie the feet and each one holds the person down on each side. One asks the question and the other one beats. Sometimes, the one who asks the question beats.
Polz asked which occurred with P20. P20 said the one who was asking, also beat him.
Polz asked if P20 could tell if there was hierarchy between the individuals. P20 said that usually in Al-Khatib, there are personnel/members [عناصر] and then people who could be officers (but for sure not a regular member/personnel). This person [who might be an officer] hit P20 twice. In other branches, an officer would be with a member/unit عنصر]] and the officer hit. He knew the hierarchy because of the title/form of address “Sidi.”
Polz asked who addressed whom. P20 responded that the lower in command addressed the higher in command saying “Yes, Sidi [yes, sir].”
Polz asked if P20 was exposed to sexual abuse in Al-Khatib. P20 said no, he was not.
Polz asked if P20 heard from other people or if someone told P20 about sexual abuse against men or women. P20 said yes, he heard about it but asked Polz if she meant in Al-Khatib or other places?
Polz said that she is interested in Al-Khatib at the moment. P20 said no one told him personally about Al-Khatib.
Polz asked if in general this was known in Syria. P20 said, in general in Syria, this method exists. At least, he heard from [female] friends about verbal sexual abuse.
Polz asked if P20 also heard about physical in addition to verbal. P20 said he does not have any information.
Polz said that Judge Wiedner asked P20 about torturing methods and mentioned Falaqa and Tire. Polz asked if P20 saw people who were tortured like that. P20 said that within his testimony he mentioned the person from Damascus, who had blood from his fingernails and toenails.
Polz recalled that in the Federal Criminal Police Office hearing P20 said “There was a person with long hair who was taken outside the cell for an hour and the detainees heard screams. When he returned, the detainees could not recognize him, he was bruised and his fingernails were extracted.” Polz asked if P20 remembers that. P20 confirmed he remembers.
Polz asked if the person was transferred because of his injuries. P20 answered that he does not remember that he was transferred, but remained in his place and did not move. P20 talked about a person who lost his mind and did not sleep for four days. He was standing on his feet for four days. They [P20 and other detainees] requested that the security personnel help this man (his name was most probably Khaled خالد or Abu Khaled أبو خالد)), saying that there is a problem happening with this person. On the fifth day, he started to talk to himself and wet himself.
Böcker said that he had two questions.
Judge Kerber said that they will take a five-minute break.
Böcker said that the questions are short.
Judge Kerber said that they will continue after five minutes.
*** 5-minute break***
Judge Wiedner asked if the person who could not sleep was in P20’s first or second detention. P20 replied that it was in the second one.
Judge Wiedner asked if it is correct that P20 had not seen a picture of Raslan before the photo-array in the police questioning. P20 confirmed. He did not see any pictures of Anwar Raslan.
Judge Wiedner asked if the French police showed P20 any photos. P20 said that they showed him a large group of pictures of different people.
Judge Wiedner asked if Raslan was identified at that hearing. P20 said at that questioning, Raslan’s name was not raised. They showed me pictures and asked me if I can identify officers. The question was “Have you seen these people in the branch?.”
Judge Wiedner asked whether P20 recognized Raslan in the French police questioning or just in the German one. P20 said he remembers that one person was a probable [suspect]. He told them that it was probable that he had seen this person. There was a group of photos with people he had probable cause to believe he had seen. In the German police questioning, P20 directly said that he knows him [Raslan].
Judge Wiedner asked if P20 did not recognize Raslan during the French police questioning. Judge Kerber clarified the question. P20 answered, “About Anwar, I said, ‘this person, I have seen him.’”
Judge Kerber asked, “without a name?” P20 confirmed that he knew without a name.
Judge Kerber asked if the person P20 recognized back then is the person (Raslan) P20 recognized in the courtroom. P20 confirmed.
Klinge said that there is another accused and asked if P20 recognizes him. [P20 looked at Eyad A.] P20 replied, no, he has not seen him.
Böcker said that he had questions for later. Judge Kerber asked if he had any clarifying questions. Böcker said no.
Judge Kerber dismissed P20 and announced that the hearing would be carried into the following day.
Böcker asked von der Behrens if she could stay in the courtroom.
[Von der Behrens talked with P20 before the latter left.]
Böcker said that he had a problem regarding the second police interrogation in 2019. Böcker does not know whether P20 recognized Raslan before the photo-array in that interrogation, because nobody knows which photos were shown in the French police questioning.
Judge Kerber said that these photos are not available in the files/records, as far as she knows.
Böcker asked if the court can get these photos. Judge Kerber said that they will try.
The proceedings were adjourned at 3:00 p.m.
The next trial will be on November 26, 2020 at 9:30 a.m.
Trial Day 47 – November 26, 2020
The proceedings began at 09:30. There were four spectators and two individuals from the media present.
Mrs. Friedrich appeared for Oehmichen. Mrs. Foerster-Baldenius appeared for Mohammad
Judge Kerber asked the lady who accompanied P20 who she was. She answered that she is [name redacted] P20’s fiancée.
Judge Wiedner said that they contacted Deußing to find out whether the French police could send the photos they showed the witness in the questioning, but the French police are not willing to share them. These photos however were not identical to those used in the Federal Criminal Police Office questioning.
Judge Kerber asked if P20 was understanding the translation. P20 said not that much. Yesterday, he had slight problems, but he thinks today is better.
Judge Kerber said that P20 was shown photos in the interrogation and asked whom he recognized. P20 asked if Judge Kerber was asking concerning the French or the German questioning.
Judge Kerber clarified she was referring to the photo-array in the French police questioning.
Böcker said that P20 was interrogated twice in France.
Judge Kerber asked P20 to confirm that. P20 confirmed.
Judge Kerber asked if he was shown photos in both questionings. P20 said no, only in the second one.
Judge Kerber asked whom P20 recognized in that questioning. P20 said he just wanted to point out that the conditions of the questioning were very bad. During the previous times, the questioning was too long with no clear reason. He [presumably the interrogator] opened an interrogation about the incidents in Syria. The interrogator was from the military, which caused a lot of psychological pressure during the first interrogation. He asked questions in a violent way that reminded P20 of interrogations in Syria. P20 shared this experience with many friends who had the same experience as well. P20 told the officer that he did not want to carry on the interrogation because of the officer’s behavior. The last French police questioning, before showing the photos of the people, P20 wanted to refuse to follow through because of their behavior. So, they said “ok, last thing” with these photos. They showed a large group of photos of different people from yesterday [P20 seemed to be referring to the previous day in court (as they showed photos in the courtroom)]. They questioned whether P20 knew or had seen any of these people. P20 pointed to the people whom he probably knew. That was everything.
Judge Kerber asked if P20 recognized someone for certain. P20 said no, not 100%.
Judge Kerber asked if Raslan’s photos were among the photos during the French police questioning. P20 said he does not remember.
Questioning by Defense Counsel Böcker
Böcker said that it was not comfortable for P20 during the French questioning and asked P20 if he was feeling well today. P20 responded that he is in a good health and very well and feels no pressure. No law forces him to come [to court in Germany].
Böcker clarified that he meant is if the atmosphere in court is good or is it similar to what P20 experienced in France. P20 said yes, it is very good.
Böcker stated that they have a problem with the photos from the French police and recalled that P20 said that the second questioning in France was too long and the behavior was bad reminding him of Syria. Böcker asked P20 if the atmosphere during the second questioning was bad. P20 said he did not say that the second questioning lasted too long, only the first one. He took a position during the second questioning as a result of the first one. P20 refused to continue and at the end, they showed him the photos.
Böcker stated that the first questioning lasted four hours. P20 said it was short, he does not know if was four hours, but it did not feel to be that long [There was confusion over which police questioning Böcker was discussing].
Böcker said that he and his colleague [Fratzki] heard that P20 said that the questioning was long and then they showed the photos. Böcker asked P20 whether he heard P20 wrong. Von der Behrens said that P20 did not say that, but rather that “There was pressure in the first questioning, then they showed the photos” and that “He was taking a position in the second questioning because of the pressure in the first one.”
Böcker asked if the first questioning lasted for 3 hours and 47 minutes. P20 said the first one lasted longer than this. He did not know about the second one, but it was shorter.
Böcker asked if the second questioning was longer than the first one or shorter. P20 replied that he does not remember exactly.
Böcker recalled that P20 said, “longer, shorter…”
Judge Kerber interrupted wanting to clarify the question. Judge Kerber asked P20 if the first questioning was longer than the second one. P20 replied that the first questioning was “long”.
Judge Kerber said that in the transcript, it is mentioned that it started at… [The court monitor could not hear what time was stated]. Judge Kerber asked what happened then. P20 said he handed over his mobile phone and went and waited for the translator. They went to a far-out location in Paris. He did not have the phone on the way to check the time. He handed over his belongings and when he went outside [after the questioning], P20 saw the time. P20 does not have information about the complete time.
Judge Kerber said that means that the questioning ended at 3:55 pm. Judge K asked if it was longer than this. P20 said he felt that it was longer than that.
Judge Kerber asked Böcker if his question was answered. Böcker confirmed that it was.
Böcker recalled that P20 said that he did not see photos of Raslan on the internet. P20 said never, he did not see the photos of Raslan and Al-Gharib.
Böcker asked if, before the questioning on April 2, 2019, P20 had the name Raslan in his mind. P20 said never, he did not have information about the name, nor any detail. However, during the interrogation, they said that the interrogation was concerning Raslan and Al-Gharib.
Böcker asked if, before that, P20 was using the internet. P20 said he was working at home.
Böcker summarized that the questioning atmosphere in France was bad, P20 shared that with his friends who told him the same, P20 works on a computer, and P20 says that he did not know about Raslan before the questioning. Böcker said that he is wondering whether P20 is certain of that, although Raslan’s name was available and known on the internet for years.
Klinge said that he should be specific and not say “years.” Böcker argued that it was indeed years. Klinge asked since what date. Böcker said 2014. Klinge asked where one can find that. Böcker said that he can get the picture from the internet.
Von der Behrens interjected that they do not know what Böcker wanted [Von der Behrens talked with P20]. P20 said he understood the question. In short, the mere existence of a name does not mean an association to a case. If he heard the name Raslan in 2011, he would not have associated it with Al-Khatib. On the internet, there are many names that P20 could not know them all. However, in the German police questioning, it was mentioned that Raslan was an officer in Al-Khatib. It was the first time P20 heard his name and saw his picture.
Böcker said that P20 was asked yesterday about the photos and P20 said that they reminded him of this person and the court now understands that P20 is saying that a photo from the French police questioning reminded him of Raslan. Böcker stated that P20 is saying something different today. P20 said that the error/mistake is first that the French photos are not available, which pointed people in Al-Khatib without context. The second time when they showed the pictures during the German police, he recognized them [the photos].
Böcker recalled that P20 said that it was bad that the photos were not shown, but now P20 said that he recognized the photos. Böcker asked if he misunderstood P20.
Von der Behrens said that they did not understand the question. Böcker repeated his question and asked whether P20 said something different. P20 responded, “I think that you [Böcker] did not understand me.”
Böcker asked if it is correct that P20 said yesterday that he recognized Raslan. P20 responded that he is saying that Raslan’s photo might have been in the French police questioning and he recognized it in the German police questioning.
Böcker said it is clear now. Von der Behrens asked Böcker to differentiate between his statements and questions.
Böcker said that during the questioning by the Federal Criminal Police Office on April 2, 2019, P20 was shown eight photos and said that he did not know seven and recognized one (photo number two). Böcker said that P20 also said that Raslan is taller than him. P20 responded that he remembers that the answer was that he does not know the number of the photo.
Böcker said it was number two. P20 responded that he said that this is Anwar and he was wearing a suit; he was thin/slim not overweight; he was P20’s height or a bit taller. P20 can not specify the height.
Böcker said, regarding the uniform, P20 said that he did not see a uniform in Al-Khatib. P20 responded that he did not understand the question. Böcker repeated the question. P20 asked Böcker if he could shorten the questions.
Böcker said no, but he would try. Böcker repeated that P20 said that he did not see uniforms.
[Scharmer objected, but Scharmer’s reasoning was not clear to the court monitor]
Böcker said that P20 was asked what the personnel was wearing and P20 replied that they were wearing t-shirts and jeans and he saw no uniforms. Böcker asked about the difference between the official uniform and the military uniform. P20 replied that he will repeat what he said, “In Al-Khatib, the security personnel whom I saw and recognized later as Raslan, was wearing a suit [there was a lot of mistranslation of “suit” and “uniform”] with a tie, however, the guards were wearing civilian clothing, like jeans and t-shirts. There were no military uniforms.” [After saying it in Arabic, P20 also said “uniform” in English.]
Böcker recalled that in the police questioning, P20 said that “There was a high-rank officer on the third floor. P20 knew that he was an important person from his clothes. Today, P20 does not remember his face. When P20 sees photo number two, it reminds P20 of him.” Böcker asked if P20 said that in the questioning.
Von der Behrens objected. P20 asked if Böcker meant before or after he was shown the photos.
Böcker said after. P20 answered, “I said that I remember the face of this officer Raslan, he was with me (I was asking myself).” [It is unclear what P20 meant by that].
Böcker asked if P20 said that when he saw photo number two, it reminded P20 of the accused. P20 said yes, he remembers.
Böcker said that P20 was asked how he knew Raslan and quoted P20. [The court monitor did not understand the quote]. P20 answered that he does not remember precisely.
Böcker quoted P20, “He [Raslan] was with the opposition, and I talked about him with my friends.” P20 responded that he does not remember precisely.
Böcker recalled that P20 said, “My friends were in Al-Khatib and think that…” [The court monitor did not understand the full remonstration]. P20 said he does not remember precisely. He does not remember the transcript of the questioning, but he does remember the things that he lived and the situations, details, feelings… he does not remember 100 or 200 pages.
Böcker said that he had no more questions.
Questioning by Plaintiff Counsel
Plaintiff Counsel Reiger referred P20 to his first detention in Al-Khatib and asked where P20 was directly before the interrogation happened (if he was in a corridor). P20 said he was always in the big chamber/dormitory that was in the sketch. He was interrogated twice in a room that overlooks the big chamber/dormitory. The conditions were very bad. Many of the detainees were wounded and P20 remembers that there was blood on the walls. When the doctors from the Red Crescent came, he remembers that the detainees hid their wounds, because it was obvious that it was not medical care and to avoid problems [complications]. The situation was bad from day one.
Reiger asked if P20’s name was called before that. P20 said yes, they called my name to get out/exit.
Reiger asked P20 if he was told where he was taken. P20 said no, never.
Reiger asked if P20 remembers what he said in the questioning about the floors and the officer’s room. P20 answered that he remembers that the discussion was about the staircases and he said that it was the second or the third floor. When one smells the fresh air, then one knows that he is in a good place, in addition to the quietness, one feels that it is a place for officers. When one enters an office and smells a scent of perfume and sees glossy dress shoes, then they knew that they were in front of an officer, not a normal member/personnel/unit [عنصر].
Reiger said that Raslan mentioned in his defense statement that his office was 3×3 meters, but a simple one. Reiger asked if P20 had that impression as he entered Raslan’s office.
Böcker said that it was the interrogator’s office. P20 answered that he entered an interrogator’s office. To be precise, [he entered] the room where this officer was.
Regier asked when the Al-Houla massacre happened. P20 said he cannot remember the date, but he thinks it was in June or July 2012. Probably in June, because he had just celebrated his birthday with the detainees. He saved a loaf of bread [back then, for the celebration]. The following day, we [the detainees] knew about the massacre – children were slaughtered with knives. P20 has a relation with this city [Al-Houla] and visited it several times.
Reiger asked if there was an improvement of treatment within the branch after the massacre took place. P20 said the behavior in Al-Khatib never changed, not even once. He visited [was detained in] it twice. The treatment was bad both times and there is no medical care.
The witness was dismissed.
[There was a brief discussion between Scharmer and Böcker about plaintiff [name redacted]]
The proceedings were adjourned at 10:55 a.m. The next trial will be December 1, 2020 at 9:30 a.m.
 Throughout this report, [information located in brackets are notes from our court 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.
 In accordance with § 406f StPO victims to a crime are allowed to be accompanied to their questioning by an attorney (paragraph 1), as well as another person the victim-witness trusts (paragraph 2) for psychological support.
 Falaqa is a torture practice where detainees are beaten on the soles of their feet.
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