The Trial of Anwar Raslan and Eyad Al-Gharib

The Trial of Anwar Raslan and Eyad Al-Gharib

In April 2020,  the Higher Regional Court in Koblenz began the first trial of two former Syrian government officials for acts of torture. This is the first criminal trial worldwide on state torture in Syria. The precedent is an important one, as Syrian government officials have largely escaped prosecution to this point.

Since the beginning of the trial proceedings on April 23, 2020, SJAC has monitored the trial via a local, trained court monitor and published regular trial reports, available in both English and Arabic. The lack of official court transcripts and Arabic translations distorts the historical landscape of the conflict, limits the scope of testimony available, and hinders future opportunities for reflection on human rights violations and justice processes. Consequently, SJAC’s comprehensive trial monitoring establishes a historical record of the trial and ensures the availability of documentation for victims and families.

On February 24, 2021, the Higher Regional Court in Koblenz found Eyad Al-Gharib guilty of aiding and abetting torture and forced imprisonment as crimes against humanity. He was sentenced to 4.5 years imprisonment. The trial monitoring report detailing the verdict is available here. SJAC’s reflections on the verdict — including the role of limited evidence and his status as a low-level warrant officer — are available here.

In January 2022, the final judgement was issued in the case with Anwar Raslan found guilty of being an accomplice to 27 murders, 4,000 cases torture and severe deprivation of liberty, and three cases of sexual violence as crimes against humanity. Based on the amount and seriousness of evidence, Anwar Raslan was sentenced to life imprisonment. For SJAC's interim assessment of the trial proceedings, click here. A final analysis of the trial and practical recommendations for future universal jurisdiction trials can be found here.

The closing statement of the prosecutors, plaintiffs and their counsel, as well as the defense counsel can be found in TR54, TR55, TR56, and TR57.

SJAC has compiled the following list of witnesses in the trial to assist in understanding the ongoing legal proceedings and assisting those interested in following the trial.

THE TRIAL OF ANWAR Raslan and EYAD AL GHARIB

Day 1- 4: April 23 - 29, 2020

Trial Report 1

Manuel Deußing - Expert, Witness

Criminal Chief Inspector at the German Federal Criminal Police (BKA) who has been responsible for conducting structural investigations into crimes arising from the Syrian conflict since 2011. He testified several times on specifics about investigations, arrests, searches, and exhibits in the cases against Anwar R. and Eyad Al-Gharib. He also provided a detailed analysis of the Caesar Files.

Laura Thurman - Expert

Testified on Syrian history, and background of the uprising in 2011. Her expertise was questioned several times, particularly by the defense.

Christine Bohlmann - Witness

Officer at the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF). He testified on Raslan’s asylum seeking process in Germany.

Rita Drechsler -Witness

Officer at the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She testified on the background of Raslan’s asylum process in Germany.

Tamara Huss - Witness
Officer at the German Foreigners’ Registration Office. She testified on administrative aspects of Raslan’s residence permit in Germany, such as his language certificates and how much monetary social support he received.


Day 5 - May 18, 2020

Trial Report 2

Marco Pütz - Witness

Case worker at the BAMF. He testified on Al-Gharib’s interview when he applied for asylum in Germany.

Klaus Wöllner - Witness
Officer with decision-making power at the BAMF. He testified on Al-Gharib’s interview when applying for asylum in Germany.

Ahmad Abdullah - Witness
Translator working at the BAMF. He testified on Al-Gharib’s interview with the office.

Kerstin Zensius - Witness
Social worker in Zweibrücken. She spoke about violent incidents in which Al-Gharib was involved in Germany.


Day 6 - May 19, 2020

Trial Report 2

Corinna Müller-Durmann - Witness
Police Officer from Berlin. She testified on Raslan’s concerns about being under surveillance by the Syrian Intelligence Services.

Petra Becker - Witness
Founder of an NGO for Syrian refugees. She testified on her meeting with Raslan during which he expressed concerns about being under surveillance of the Syrian Intelligence Services.

Day 7 - May 27, 2020

Trial Report 3

Alexander Frey - Witness

Criminal Inspector at the BKA testified on exhibits, investigations, arrests, and police questionings.

Manuel Deußing - Expert, Witness

Criminal Chief Inspector at the German Federal Criminal Police (BKA) who has been responsible for conducting structural investigations into crimes arising from the Syrian conflict since 2011. He testified several times on specifics about investigations, arrests, searches, and exhibits in the cases against Anwar R. and Eyad Al-Gharib. He also provided a detailed analysis of the Caesar Files.


Day 8 - May 28, 2020

Trial Report 3

Björn Schmidt - Witness

Criminal Officer at the State Criminal Police Office (LKA) Berlin. He testified on his hearing with Raslan regarding alleged surveillance by the Syrian Intelligence Services and questionings of other witnesses.

Anja Krüger - Witness

Police Officer from Berlin. She testified on her hearing with Raslan during which he mentioned several incidents when he felt monitored by the Syrian Intelligence Services in Germany.

Day 9 - May 29, 2020

Trial Report 3

Martin Holtzky - Witness

Police Officer at the BKA who interviewed Raslan as a witness on Syrian Intelligence Services.

Day 10 - June 3, 2020

Trial Report 4

P1 - Plaintiff

Former detainee in Branch 251. He testified on his experience regarding torture, mistreatment, interrogations, as well as conditions at Branch 251.

Day 11 - June 4, 2020

Trial Report 4

P1 - Plaintiff

Former detainee in Branch 251. He testified on his experience regarding torture, mistreatment, interrogations, as well as conditions at Branch 251.

Anwar Al-Bunni (P2) - Plaintiff

Syrian lawyer and former detainee. He testified on his own detention in Adra prison, his clients’ experiences at Branch 251, including experiences of female detainees at Branch 251 who had to endure sexual assaults.

Day 12 - June 05, 2020

Trial Report 4

Anwar Al-Bunni (P2) - Expert, Witness

Syrian lawyer and former detainee. He testified on his own detention in Adra prison, his clients’ experiences at Branch 251, including experiences of female detainees at Branch 251 who had to endure sexual assaults.

Day 13 - June 24, 2020

Trial Report 5

P3 - Witness

Syrian lawyer and former detainee. He testified on his own detention in Adra prison, his clients’ experiences at Branch 251, including experiences of female detainees at Branch 251 who had to endure sexual assaults.

Day 14 - June 25, 2020

Trial Report 5

P3 - Witness

Syrian lawyer and former detainee. He testified on his own detention in Adra prison, his clients’ experiences at Branch 251, including experiences of female detainees at Branch 251 who had to endure sexual assaults.

Christian Knappmann - Expert Witness

Criminal Inspector at the BKA who interviewed several witnesses and conducted investigations into mass graves.

Alexander Frey

Criminal Inspector at the BKA testified on exhibits, investigations, arrests, and police questionings.


Day 15 - July 01, 2020

Trial Report 6

P4 - Witness

Former detainee in Branch 251. He testified on his experience regarding torture and conditions at Branch 251.

Day 16 - July 02, 2020

Trial Report 6

P5 - Witness

Former guard in Branch 251. He testified on his work as well as structures and hierarchies at Branch 251.

Mr. Brücken - Witness 

Criminal Officer at the French National Criminal Police. He testified on the questioning of P5.

Kathrin Mittendorf - Witness 

Officer with decision-making power at the BAMF. He spoke about P5’s asylum seeking process in Germany.



Day 17 - July 03, 2020

Trial Report 6

P5 - Witness

Former guard in Branch 251. He testified on his work as well as structures and hierarchies at Branch 251.

Day 18 - July 06, 2020

Trial Report 6

P6 - Witness

Cousin to Eyad Al-Gharib. He spoke about his relation to Al-Gharib and how Al-Gharib was supportive of demonstrations and warned friends when they were about to be detained.

Day 19 - July 29, 2020

Trial Report 7

P7 - Witness

Former detainee. He testified on detention conditions in Branch 251 and Kafar Souseh Branch, and how he was mistreated there.

Day 20 - July 30, 2020

Trial Report 7

P8 - Witness

Former detainee in Branch 251 and Kafar Souseh Branch. He testified on detention conditions and how he was mistreated there.

Day 21 - July 31, 2020

Trial Report 7

P9 - Witness

Former employee of the Syrian Government. He testified on his detention and release. He said Raslan might be the one who interrogated him during detention.

Day 22 - August 12, 2020

Trial Report 8

P10 - Witness

Former employee of the Syrian Intelligence Services with over 20 years of work experience. He testified on structure and hierarchies and torture methods of the Intelligence Services.

Day 23 - August 13, 2020

Trial Report 8

P10 - Witness

Former employee of the Syrian Intelligence Services with over 20 years of work experience. He testified on structure and hierarchies and torture methods of the Intelligence Services.

Day 24 - August 19, 2020

Trial Report 9

P11 - Plaintiff

Former detainee. He testified on how he was mistreated and interrogated at Branch 251 and Kafar Souseh Branch, as well as the detention conditions there.

Day 25 - August 20, 2020

Trial Report 9

P12 - Witness

Former detainees in Branches 251 and 285. He testified on the conditions in these Branches, including instances of torture.

Day 26 - August 26, 2020

Trial Report 10

Riad Seif (P13) - Witness

Prominent Syrian opposition figure. He testified on his personal background, role in the opposition, as well as his relation to Raslan from whom he had hoped to get information about the regime.

Day 27 - August 27, 2020

Trial Report 10

Riad Seif (P13) - Witness

Prominent Syrian opposition figure. He testified on his personal background, role in the opposition, as well as his relation to Raslan from whom he had hoped to get information about the regime.

Day 28- September 2, 2020

Trial Report 11

Manuel Deußing - Expert, Witness

Criminal Chief Inspector at the German Federal Criminal Police (BKA) who has been responsible for conducting structural investigations into crimes arising from the Syrian conflict since 2011. He testified several times on specifics about investigations, arrests, searches, and exhibits in the cases against Anwar R. and Eyad Al-Gharib. He also provided a detailed analysis of the Caesar Files.

Henning Lindemann - Expert

Criminal Inspector at the BKA. He testified on his analysis of a HRW report titled “Torture Archipelago” that was conducted prior to Raslan’s arrest.

Day 29- September 3, 2020

Trial Report 11

Manuel Deußing - Expert, Witness

Criminal Chief Inspector at the German Federal Criminal Police (BKA) who has been responsible for conducting structural investigations into crimes arising from the Syrian conflict since 2011. He testified several times on specifics about investigations, arrests, searches, and exhibits in the cases against Anwar R. and Eyad Al-Gharib. He also provided a detailed analysis of the Caesar Files.

Day 30- September 9, 2020

Trial Report 12

P14 - Witness

Work at a burial site, existence of mass graves where corpses from several Intelligence prisons were buried

Day 31- September 10, 2020

Trial Report 12

P14 - Witness

Work at a burial site, existence of mass graves where corpses from several Intelligence prisons were buried

Day 32- September 15, 2020

Trial Report 13

Mazen Darwish - Expert, Witness

The head of SCM provided background on the history of Syria and events leading to the uprising in 2011. He provided additional documents on Branch 251 to the court and spoke about the legal system in Syria.

Day 33- September 16, 2020

Trial Report 13

P15 - Witness

He testified on two phone calls he had with Raslan whom he also met him twice. He further spoke about the search for his cousin who was detained at Branch 251.

Day 34- October 1, 2020

Trial Report 14

P16 - Witness

Former detainee at Branch 251 and Division 40. She testified on experiences of sexual violence at Branch 251 and Division 40, as well as the overall conditions at these detention facilities.

Day 35- October 6, 2020

Trial Report 15

P17 - Witness

He testified on his detentions with the Intelligence Services, as well as the search for his brother who was arrested at Branch 251.

Day 36- October 7, 2020

Trial Report 15

P18 - Witness

He testified on the search for his cousin who was arrested at Branch 251.

Day 37- October 8, 2020

Trial Report 15

Christoph Reuter - Expert, Witness

Renowned German journalist specialized in Syria and the MENA region. He testified on the situation in Syria in 2011/12 which he experienced himself. He also spoke about two interviews he conducted with Raslan, as well as his personal impressions of Raslan.

Day 38- October 27, 2020

Trial Report 16

Garance Le Caisne - Expert, Witness

French journalist. She provided background on the Caesar Files and testified on her interviews with Caesar.

Day 39- October 28, 2020

Trial Report 16

During a brief session, the judges read out loud the translation of a 30-page report on the evidentiary value of the “Caesar files” commissioned by Carter-Ruck solicitors in 2014. The report puts forth a facial assessment of the Caesar photos.

Day 40- October 29, 2020

Trial Report 16

Chief Inspector Manuel Deußing - Expert

Deußing, a 37-year-old criminal chief inspector from the German Federal Criminal Police (BKA), told the court about his interview with Sami, a crucial member of the Caesar Files Group who helped Caesar leak the pictures and escape from Syria. Deußing also presented on the technical aspects of the BKA’s analysis of the Caesar files.

Day 41- November 3, 2020

Trial Report 17

Professor Dr. Markus Rothschild - Expert

Forensic expert who conducted a throughout analysis of the Caesar Files which he presented and explained in court.

Day 42- November 4, 2020

Trial Report 17

Mr. Hörl - Witness

Criminal Inspector at the BKA. He testified on an exhibit his office found in Raslan’s flat in Berlin.

Day 43- November 17, 2020

Trial Report 18

Christopher Engels - Expert

Director of Investigations and Operations at the Commission for International Justice and Accountability (CIJA). He testified on the structure of the Syrian Intelligence Services, provided documents from Syria to the court and explained how CIJA obtained them.

Day 44- November 18, 2020

Trial Report 18

Christopher Engels - Expert

Director of Investigations and Operations at the Commission for International Justice and Accountability (CIJA). He testified on the structure of the Syrian Intelligence Services, provided documents from Syria to the court and explained how CIJA obtained them.

Day 45- November 19, 2020

Trial Report 18

P19 - Plaintiff

Former detainee in several Intelligence Branches. She testified on her detentions in Branches 251 and 285 where she was beaten and had to endure sexual harassment. She further described the bad detention conditions at both Branches and how she heard men being tortured.

Day 46 & 47- November 25 - 26, 2020

Trial Report 19

P20 - Witness

Former detainee in Branch 251. He testified on his arrest by Division 40, detention at Branch 251 and transfer to Branch 285. He also spoke about underage detainees at Branch 251 and being mistreated by an interrogator whom he identified as accused Raslan.

Day 48 & 49- December 1 - 2, 2020

Trial Report 20

P21 - Witness

Former employee of the General Intelligence Directorate with over 30 years of work experience. He testified on arrest warrants and orders to “extend interrogations” that his office (Branch 255) received from several Branches.

Hannah Hille - Witness

Case worker at the BAMF who testified on her interview with P21 and how information about war crimes is being forwarded at her office.

Day 50 & 51 - December 9 - 10, 2020

Trial Report 21

P22 - Witness

Former detainee at Branch 251 and Kafar Souseh Branch. He testified on being tortured with Falaqa and collective punishment in both Branches. He concluded that Branch 251 was not as bad as Kafar Souseh Branch.

P23 - Witness

Former detainee at the 10th Division and Branch 251. He testified on mistreatment he had to endure during his detentions, as well as his transfer Harasta hospital where he and others were tortured. He said many people died from torture in the hospital on a daily basis.

Day 52 - December 16, 2020

Trial Report 22

P24 - Witness

Female detainee at Division 40 and Branch 251. She testified on detention conditions and other detainees being tortured. According to her own statement, she did not suffer sexual violence.

Day 53 & 54 - January 6-7, 2021

Trial Report 23

P25 - Plaintiff

Former detainee in Branch 251 and State Security Branch. He testified on torture and interrogations of minors and elderly people at both Branches, himself being tortured, and collective punishment. He concluded that Branch 251 was worse.

Christian Knappmann

Criminal Inspector at the BKA who interviewed several witnesses and conducted investigations into mass graves.

Day 55 & 56 - January 13 - 14, 2021

Trial Report 24

P26 - Witness

Two times detainee at Branch 251. She testified on constant torture, overcrowded cells, bad food and inadequate hygienic facilities.

Alexander Frey -Witness

Criminal Inspector at the BKA testified on exhibits, investigations, arrests, and police questionings.

Day 57 & 58 - January 27 - 28, 2021

Trial Report 25

Mr. Hörl - Witness

Criminal Inspector at the BKA. He testified on an exhibit his office found in Raslan’s flat in Berlin.

P27 - Plaintiff

Former detainee at Branch 251. He testified on torture during interrogations and harsh beating at his arrival. He further heard other detainees, including women, being tortured.

Day 59 - January 27 - 28, 2021

Trial Report 26

Manuel Deußing - Expert, Witness

Criminal Chief Inspector at the German Federal Criminal Police (BKA) who has been responsible for conducting structural investigations into crimes arising from the Syrian conflict since 2011. He testified several times on specifics about investigations, arrests, searches, and exhibits in the cases against Anwar R. and Eyad Al-Gharib. He also provided a detailed analysis of the Caesar Files.


Day 60 & 61 - February 17 - 18, 2021

Trial Report 27

In the trial against Eyad Al-Gharib, the prosecutors provided their closing statement. They acknowledged the bravery of survivors who testified before the German police and/or in court, despite the threats this posed on them and their loved ones. The prosecutors further concluded that the Syrian government has been conducting a widespread and systematic attack against their own people since 2011.

Al-Gharib’s defense read out their closing statements. After thanking the judges for their “elegant” handling of the trial, they paid respect to all survivors as well as insiders who were willing to testify in court. They then provided two alternative statements. The first one was “hypothetically assuming that their client was found guilty”. In this statement, they concluded that Al-Gharib significantly contributed to the prosecution against Raslan and called for a sentence of two years on parole. In their second alternative statement, the defense claimed that Al-Gharib acted under duress, calling for an acquittal.



Day 62 - February 24, 2021

Trial Report 28

After severing the trial against Al-Gharib the previous week, the judges issued their verdict in the case. The judges found Eyad Al-Gharib guilty of aiding and abetting torture and severe deprivation of liberty as crimes against humanity. They detailed that he was involved in the arrest of at least 30 people and their transfer to Branch 251 in September or October 2011. According to the judges, he had several reasonable options to escape the situation, instead of staying and contributing to these crimes. It was found that he did not establish a defense of duress. After weighing in on aggravating and mitigating factors based on the totality of evidence (namely his self-incriminating interview with the German asylum authority), the judges sentenced Al-Gharib to 4.5 years imprisonment upholding his arrest warrant.

Day 63 & 64 - March 10-11, 2021

Trial Report 29

P28 - Plaintiff

Former detainee in Branch 251. He testified on the generally bad conditions in Branch 251 and mentioned new torturing methods such as dripping hot melted plastic on one’s head. He is suffering from psychological and physical trauma due to his detention in Branch 251.

P29 - Witness

Former detainee at Branch 251. He testified on being tortured and sexually harassed on the way to Branch 251.

Day 65 - March 17, 2021

Trial Report 30

P30 - Plaintiff

Former detainee in Branch 251. He testified on the bad conditions in Branch 251, torture using electric shocks and the German Chair. He also said he saw appliances on the walls, where one could be hanged.

Day 66 - March 24, 2021

Trial Report 31

Christian Knappmann

Criminal Inspector at the BKA who interviewed several witnesses and conducted investigations into mass graves.

Day 67 & 68 - April 7 - 8, 2021

Trial Report 32

P31 - Witness

Former detainee in Branch 251. He identified Raslan as a higher-ranking employee at the Branch and testified about constant torture during interrogations, overcrowded cells, and inadequate hygienic conditions at the Branch.

Day 69 & 70 - April 14 - 15, 2021

Trial Report 33

P32 - Witness

Former detainee in Branch 251. She spoke about her and her sister’s detention in Branch 251 and identified Raslan as a high-ranking employee at the Branch.

Day 71 - April 21, 2021

Trial Report 34

P33 - Witness

Former detainee at Branch 251. She testified on her detention and the detention of family members at the same Branch. She identified Raslan as higher-ranking officer at Branch 251.

Day 72 - May 5, 2021

Trial Report 35

Fayez Sarah - Expert

Former detainee at Branch 251. He spoke about his detentions at the Branch in 1978, 2008 and 2011.

Day 73 & 74 - May 19-20, 2021

Trial Report 36

The witness initially summoned for May 19th declined to testify in open court. The judges announced they will summon the police investigator who previously questioned the witness to testify in court on a later date. Two other witnesses also preferred not to testify in Koblenz. Transcripts and summaries of their prior statements were read out in court instead. Following a request from the defense, the judges also read out the German translation of a Facebook chat between P17, his brother and “Abu Karam”. The latter was allegedly detained with their brother and told them about his death.

Kai Strell - Witness

Scientific Analyst at the BKA. He testified about a report on detention conditions at Branch 251. The report is based on more than fifty witness testimonies.

Day 75 & 76 - June 16 - 17, 2021

Trial Report 37

P34 - Plaintiff

Former detainee at Branch 251. He testified on his and his brothers’ detention, the bad detention conditions, and the torture he was subjected to. His family identified his brother-in-law in one of the pictures from the Caesar Files.

P35 - Witness

Former detainee at Branch 251. He spoke about his detentions at the Branch and the psychological and physical consequences of 13 detentions by the Syrian intelligence services. The witness identified Raslan as head of investigations at Branch 251 and said he had far-reaching competencies like ordering the witness’s assassination together with Ali Mamlouk.

Day 77 & 78 - June 23 - 24, 2021

Trial Report 38

P36 - Witness

Former doctor at a hospital close to Branch 251. He described how he and his colleagues had to treat patients at the Branch and how some of them were transferred to the hospital. Half of the patients from the Branch died. He also told the court about the injuries they showed and the detention conditions at the Branch.

P37 - Witness

Former police officer in Hama. He testified about how he first met Raslan in Syria and then had several meetings with him in Germany.

Day 79 & 80 - June 30 - July 1, 2021

Trial Report 39

P38 - Plaintiff

Former detainee at Branch 251. He testified about his arrest and detention at the Branch as well as the torture he had to endure. He also told the court that security forces arrested children and depicted the battered corpse of a juvenile.

Christian Knappmann

Criminal Inspector at the BKA who interviewed several witnesses and conducted investigations into mass graves.

Day 81 - July 7, 2021

Trial Report 40

P39 - Plaintiff

Former detainee at Branch 251. He testified about his arrest and detention at Branch 251 where Raslan interrogated him and was present while he was tortured. He also described how a 15-year-old child was sexually abused by guards.

Day 82 & 83- July 14 - 15, 2021

Trial Report 41

P40 - Witness

Former detainee at Branch 251. He testified about his arrest and detention at the Branch prior to 2011. The witness explained to the court that he was not blindfolded during interrogations and a person called Raslan interrogated him. The witness described to the court that Raslan looked slightly different back then.

P41 - Plaintiff

Former detainee at Branch 251. He described his arrest and detention at the Branch. He identified Raslan as the head of the Branch who was present when guards were ordered to torture him. The witness further identified two people who allegedly died of torture at Branch 251. He identified them on two screenshots from open-source videos, one of which the witness allegedly recorded himself.

Day 84 & 85- July 21 - 22, 2021

Trial Report 42

P42 - Plaintiff

Former detainee at Branch 251. She testified about her detention at the Branch during which she amongst others had to endure sexual assaults. She stated that Raslan was present during her interrogations. The witness further told the court she received privileged treatment at the Branch due to her work.

P43 - Witness

One of Raslan’s relatives who testified about Raslan’s work before and after 2011. He described how Raslan defected, left Syria and applied for asylum in Germany together with his family.

Day 86 & 87- August 18 - 19, 2021

Trial Report 43

Mr. Okotutsch - Witness

Criminal Inspector at the BKA who was responsible for managing the translation of an email message from P17’s brother.

P44 - Plaintiff 

Former detainee at Branch 251. He testified about his 3-day detention at the Branch where he only had to endure violence upon his arrival. When he was arrested, he got a glimpse at a person who could possibly be Raslan, as the witness told the court.

P45 - Plaintiff 

Former detainee at Branch 251. He testified about his 3-day detention at the Branch where he only had to endure violence at his arrest.

Day 88 & 89- August 25 - 26, 2021

Trial Report 44

P46 - Plaintiff

Former detainee at Branch 251. He testified about his detention at the Branch during which he also spent several days at Harasta hospital. He told the court about dead people he saw at the hospital and the bad detention conditions at the Branch. According to the witness, a man who made decisions about the fate of sick and injured people at the Branch looked like Anwar R.

P47 - Plaintiff

Former detainee at the Branch. He testified about his detention at the branch which was relatively short due to bribes paid by his family. When he was transferred to another Branch, he got a glimpse at a person who could possibly be Raslan.

Day 90 & 91- September 1-2, 2021

Trial Report 45

P48 - Plaintiff

Former detainee at Branch 251. He testified about his detention at the Branch lasting several days, during which he was tortured before he was transferred to Kafar Souseh branch.

P49 - Witness

Former detainee at Branch 251. He testified about his 3-day detention at the Branch where he was not physically mistreated but psychologically pressured. He told the court that he was interrogated by Raslan who escorted him to Tawfiq Younes’ office from where he was released.

Day 92 & 93- September 8-9, 2021

Trial Report 46

P50 - Plaintiff

Former detainee at Branch 251. As a medical professional he was talking about his own and his patients’ experiences in detention. He further explained the psychological trauma caused by detention and social exclusion of female detainees.

Christian Knappmann - Expert, Witness 

Criminal Inspector at the BKA who interviewed several witnesses and conducted investigations into mass graves.

P51 - Witness

Former doctor at a hospital close to Al-Khatib Branch. He testified about visits he and his colleagues had to made to the Branch, where detainees were in very bad physical condition, but medical professionals were not allowed to provide immediate treatment. He further told the court that the hospital was under the control of the Branch because the Branch occupied the hospital’s mortuary, transferred detainees as patients without allowing proper treatment, and hindered outside patients from entering the hospital.

Day 94 & 95- September 29-30, 2021

Trial Report 47

Manuel Deußing - Expert, Witness

Criminal Chief Inspector at the German Federal Criminal Police (BKA) who has been responsible for conducting structural investigations into crimes arising from the Syrian conflict since 2011. He testified several times on specifics about investigations, arrests, searches, and exhibits in the cases against Anwar R. and Eyad Al-Gharib. He also provided a detailed analysis of the Caesar Files.

Björn Schmidt - Witness

Criminal Officer at the State Criminal Police Office (LKA) Berlin. He testified on his hearing with Raslan regarding alleged surveillance by the Syrian Intelligence Services and questionings of other witnesses.

P52 - Witness

Former member of the Syrian Air Force and detainee at Branch 251. He testified about his detention at the Branch, and meetings he had with Raslan after both defected and left Syria.

Day 96- October 6, 2021

Trial Report 48

P53 - Witness

P32’s brother-in-law. Contrary to what the Defense proposed, he could not testify about P32’s detention or mental health since they did not have frequent contact and did not talk about these issues.

Day 97 & 98 - October 13, 2021

Trial Report 49

P54 - Witness

Former Syrian military pilot who testified about Raslan’s defection and how the latter allegedly helped reduce the number of refugee casualties by providing the Jordanian Intelligence Services with a sketch of a safe escape route.

P55 - Witness

Former secretary of the head of the interrogation branch in Branch 285. He identified Raslan as the former head of the interrogation division at Branch 285, before Raslan was transferred to Branch 251, and back to Branch 285. P55 further detailed the structural hierarchy within the General Intelligence Directorate.

Day 99 & 100 - October 26 - 27, 2021

Trial Report 50

Day 99

During this short administrative session, the Prosecutors objected to three requests previously issued by the Defense Counsels to hear three additional witnesses. The Defense announced that they would submit further requests to take additional evidence.

Day 100

The Defense submitted eight more requests to take evidence. Amongst others, they requested to hear additional insiders to testify about Raslan’s opposition-friendly attitude, how he wanted to defect since the beginning of the revolution, his limited powers at Al-Khatib Branch due to Hafez Makhlouf, and Division 40 allegedly taking over interrogations and the prison at the Branch. According to the Defense, additional expertise on the history and power structures of the Syrian Intelligence Services is needed.

Day 101 - November 4, 2021

Trial Report 51

p56 - Witness 

Former Colonel at the Syrian Ministry of interior and long-time friend of Raslan. He testified about reasons for Raslan’s late defection and his political beliefs.

Day 102 - November 11, 2021

Trial Report 52

Dr. Kamal Al-Labwani - Witness


Former member of the Syrian opposition who testified about Raslan’s work with the opposition and several meetings he had with Raslan after his defection.

Day 103 & 104 - November 17 - 18, 2021

Trial Report 53

P57 - Witness

Former detainee at Branch 251 testified about his detention and three interrogations at the Branch. He identified Raslan as one of the officers that were present during one of these interrogations.

Alexander Frey - Witness

Criminal Inspector at the BKA testified on exhibits, investigations, arrests, and police questionings.

Day 105 & 106- December 1 -2, 2021

Trial Report 54

P58 - Witness

Former detainee at Branch 251. He testified about his detention and Raslan’s sympathy toward the Syrian opposition

Trial Day 106

The Prosecutors provided their closing statements, arguing that Raslan should be found guilty as an accomplice to crimes against humanity in relation to 4,000 cases of torture, 30 cases of murder, and sexual violence. Accordingly, they contended that Raslan should receive a life sentence. The Prosecutors also stated that Raslan was an accomplice to several underlying crimes against humanity, therefore, he should not be eligible for parole after serving 15 years [German law typically provides for a review of imprisonment after 15 years of the life sentence to determine whether the convicted person is eligible for parole.].

Day 107 - December 8, 2021

Trial Report 55

This was the first day of closings statements delivered by the plaintiffs and their counsel. The Court heard from four survivors who joined the trial as plaintiffs, each of whom provided their own statement. They all stressed the personal importance of the trial on their lives. The plaintiffs also said that they see themselves as representatives of all the victims who did not survive Branch 251 and everyone who is still detained in Syrian government prisons.

Day 108 - December 15, 2021

Trial Report 56

This was the first day of closings statements delivered by the plaintiffs and their counsel. The Court heard from four survivors who joined the trial as plaintiffs, each of whom provided their own statement. They all stressed the personal importance of the trial on their lives. The plaintiffs also said that they see themselves as representatives of all the victims who did not survive Branch 251 and everyone who is still detained in Syrian government prisons.

Day 109 - January 6, 2022

Trial Report 57

On this day, the Defense team provided their closing statements, then Defendant Anwar Raslan had his personal interpreter read out a written statement on his behalf. Both Defense Counsels requested that their client be acquitted. According to the Defense, Raslan was not one of those most responsible for crimes against humanity committed by the Syrian government.

Day 110 - January 13, 2022

Trial Report 58

This was the last day of the Trial of Anwar Raslan at the Higher Regional Court in Koblenz. The Judges held that Anwar Raslan was guilty of being an accomplice to 27 murders, 4,000 cases of torture and severe deprivation of liberty, and three cases of sexual violence as crimes against humanity. The Judges found that, as head of the Investigations Division at Branch 251 of the General Intelligence Directorate in Damascus, Anwar Raslan was responsible for interrogations and prison facilities. The Judges stated that the Syrian Government conducted a widespread and systematic attack against civilians since at least April 29, 2011. They also said that detention conditions at Branch 251 qualified as torture. Anwar Raslan was sentenced to life imprisonment. The Judges weighed the mitigating and aggravating factors, and concluded that they could not find a particular severity of guilt. According to German law, Raslan can apply for parole after serving 15 years of his sentence.