Inside the Raslan Trial: Plaintiffs under Scrutiny

Inside the Raslan Trial: Plaintiffs under Scrutiny

Illustration by Rachel Ma

 

TRIAL OF ANWAR RASLAN

Higher Regional Court – Koblenz, Germany

Trial Monitoring Report 30

Hearing Date: March 17, 2021

A full PDF of this report is available, here.

All reports and witness lists are available, here.

CAUTION: Some testimony includes descriptions of torture.

 

Summaries/Highlights:[1]

Trial Day 65 – March 17, 2021

The plaintiff P30, a 32-year-old man who was formerly working for the [information redacted] testified on his detention and various interrogations he had to endure at Al-Khatib Branch. He explained the court how detainees had to suffer physical torture in the form of beatings and electroshocks during interrogations and on the way there. He also described how they were subjected to psychological torture was well, including, sleep deprivation, constant exposure to sounds of torture, and prolonged waiting outside their cell prior to interrogation. The witness further described the devastating hygienic and nutritional conditions at the Branch. Raslan’s defense raised several questions about how exactly P30 joined the case as a plaintiff.

Day 65 of Trial – March 17, 2021

The hearing began at 9:30AM with nine spectators and two members of the press in the audience. None of the accredited journalists requested access to the Arabic interpretation. One of the spectators was a court illustrator. The prosecution was represented by prosecutors Klinge and Polz.

Testimony of P30[2]

The plaintiff, P30, a 32-year-old man who was formerly working for [information redacted] was accompanied by his counsel René Bahns. P30 was informed about his rights and duties as a witness. He denied being related to the Defendant by blood or marriage.

Judge Kerber’s Questioning

Presiding Judge Kerber started the court’s questioning by asking P30 how he was arrested and how he came into conflict with the regime. P30 explained that he used to participated in demonstrations, however, on March 13, 2012, one of his colleagues betrayed him and P30 was arrested for the first time. He was arrested a second time on March 31 [2012]. P30 said he was taken to Division 40 where he stayed for around one day. After that he was transferred to Al-Khatib. P30 described how on his arrival at Al-Khatib Branch, he had to get undressed to be frisked just like all other detainees.

Kerber wanted to know whether P30 was frisked for the first time at Division 40 or Al-Khatib. P30 said it was at Al-Khatib Branch. Beatings and humiliation started immediately after he was frisked. P30 was then taken to a collective cell where the other detainees told him that he was in Al-Khatib (he did not know that before). P30 was then immediately taken to an interrogation. The prison guards blindfolded him and took him one or two floors upstairs. P30 did not remember the exact floor. P30 had to kneel in one of the corridors while he was waiting. People passing by started to beat him. After having to wait like that for more than five hours, P30 was taken to the interrogation room where the interrogation conducted by an interrogator started. P30 explained that his laptop and mobile phone were confiscated. The interrogator told P30 that they found videos on these devices, so they already knew that P30 was participating in demonstrations. P30 told the court that the interrogation was focused on him being from [information redacted] and his religious background as a Shiite. He was questioned why he participated in demonstrations, considering his religion and employment with the government. The interrogation lasted for more than one hour with two people present: one person standing behind P30 and beating him, and the interrogator who was standing in front of P30. After the interrogation, P30 was taken out of the interrogation room, however, he had to wait some time before he was taken downstairs again. His blindfold was removed when he was back in his cell. From the moment he was taken from his cell until he returned, he was exposed to constant beatings. P30 further explained that he was interrogated a second time on that day, following the same procedure as just described. He added that from the moment he was detained at Division 40 “they” knew everything about him, so lying during interrogations was not an option. In sum, he was interrogated eight or nine times during his 18-day stay in Al-Khatib. P30 further told the judges that there were more than a hundred people in one collective cell. They were transferred depending on size and number of raids that were conducted at that time.

Kerber asked P30 if he was detained for 18 days in total. P30 explained he had to stay in Al-Khatib for 18 days before he was transferred to other branches.

Kerber asked P30 to describe the situation in the collective cell. P30 explained that there were blankets and a separate toilet inside the collective cell. The first day in the cell, there was no space to sit, so P30 was forced to stand the entire time. There was a huge psychological pressure. P30 further explained that the overall situation was very bad. Everyone who entered the cell caught the flu, because the air was bad. The military blankets that were lying in the cell were full of lice. According to P30, everyone who entered the cell got infested with lice. [P30 fell silent]

When asked by Judge Kerber if he needed a break, P30 declined, adding that he was just trying to remember.

Kerber went on to ask P30 about the health condition of the other detainees. P30 said their condition was very bad: detainees were sick, some fell unconscious. The ones who still had some energy left, were standing to let the unconscious people lie down, as there was simply not enough space for all of them to sit or lie down. P30 added that he had to stand for two days. An elderly man eventually tried to make some space, so P30 was able to sit as well. P30 further described that one of the detainees was a 22-year-old doctor who had not graduated yet. He took care of sick detainees in the cell. Regarding food supplies, P30 explained they got three meals per day: a dry slice of bread, some olives and Halawa. He added that the guards who took the detainees to the interrogations, were always very harsh and violent. However, the door of P30’s collective cell had a small window that was usually closed. Some of the guards were nicer than others and sometimes opened the window to let fresh air inside the cell. P30 further described that the detainees were not allowed to speak inside the cell. If the guards heard any noise, they entered the cell and beat the detainees up. One of the prison guards was particularly bad. He used to enter the cell and beat people up without any reason, using a quadruple cable.

Kerber asked for this guard’s names. P30 explained it was a nickname from a Turkish series. P30 did not watch it, but the detainees were calling him “Memati ميماتي”.

Kerber wanted to know why P30 was detained. P30 said he worked for [information redacted]. However, he participated in demonstrations, a fact that was known to many people. P30’s friend [and colleague], [name redacted], once asked P30 if he could use his laptop because he did not have his own laptop with him. Although P30 stored all his media files in a hidden folder, his colleague was able to detect and copy them when P30 allowed him to use his laptop. P30 said before he even realized that his files were copied, he was already summoned by his boss (Legal Director General of [information redacted]) and asked if he was participating in demonstrations. After replying that he had the right to be a peaceful protestor, P30 was reprimanded by his boos but eventually allowed to go.

Judge Wiedner’s Questioning

Wiedner wanted to know in which demonstrations P30 participated. P30 said in summer 2011, he participated in the demonstrations in Idleb إدلب. In November and December 2011, he demonstrated in Kafar Souseh كفر سوسة. P30 explained that he participated in demonstrations in Idleb on a regular basis.

Wiedner asked P30 to describe how the security forces reacted to the demonstrations. P30 described that one time, a delegation from the Arab League was visiting Idleb when two demonstrations were about to merge. The security forces started to shoot at the demonstrators [delegates were among them] and used tear gas as well.

Wiedner wanted to know if people were injured or killed during this instance. P30 affirmed that the security forces used live ammunition. While he was filming the scene, he spotted a sniper on one of the government buildings.

Wiedner repeated his previous question. P30 confirmed that some people were injured.

Wiedner asked P30 if he witnessed people being injured. P30 denied, adding he rather saw it in the videos, because he had to run away due to the live-ammunition shooting.

Wiedner wanted to know if this happened in Idleb and when it happened. P30 confirmed that it happened in Idleb, adding it must have been around November [2011] as far as he remembered. Asked if that happened in Idleb, P30 said yes, in Idleb.

Wiedner asked about the year when P30 was detained in March. P30 said it was in 2012.

Wiedner wanted to know to what Branch P30 was taken when he was arrested. P30 said he was taken to Division 40 where he had to stay for one day.

Wiedner asked how P30 knew that he was at Division 40. P30 explained that several people who were waiting with him on the corridor, told him that.

Wiedner asked P30 to describe the situation when he was waiting on the corridor. P30 explained he was taken to Division 40 where he had to wait to be interrogated. He was waiting on the corridor where other people told him that they were at Division 40.

Wiedner recalled P30 telling the German Federal Criminal Police (BKA) where division 40 was located and asked P30 to tell the court as well. P30 recalled that he probably told the BKA that Division 40 was in Al-Jisr Al-Abyad الجسر الأبيض.

Wiedner wanted to know whether P30 was interrogated at Division 40. P30 affirmed, explaining that he was interrogated in different offices. One of the interrogation officers showed P30 clips where P30 filmed himself at demonstrations.

Wiedner asked if the interrogation officer wanted to know anything specific. P30 denied.

Wiedner recalled P30 telling the BKA that electroshocks where used at Division 40. P30 confirmed, explaining that a person next to him had to endure electroshocks.

Wiedner wanted to know if P30 had to endure electroshocks as well. P30 described how one of the employees was using electroshocks on the detainees. When this person wanted to use them on P30 as well, another officer pulled P30 away, telling the person with the electroshocks to leave P30 alone. The person with the electroshocks then started beating P30 with his bare hands.

Wiedner asked P30 about sexual violence. P30 explained that during beatings, the guards were deliberately targeting sensitive areas.

Wiedner wanted to know if sensitive areas were also targeted with electroshocks. P30 explained that because he was blindfolded at Division 40, he could only hear other people scream but did not see what areas were targeted.

Wiedner asked P30 if he was beaten on his sensitive areas. P30 said that he was being beaten, but he closed his legs, so they could not beat him there [between his legs].

Wiedner recalled P30 telling the BKA that he and others were being beaten and electroshocks were used on them. P30 confirmed.

Wiedner asked how P30 knew that. P30 said he heard the person next to him saying that.

Wiedner asked how P30 knew that he then was in Al-Khatib and whether the security personnel mentioned something about that. P30 told the judges that other detainees told him that they were at Al-Khatib, the security personnel, however, did not provide any information.

Wiedner wanted to know if P30 was mistreated on the way to Al-Khatib. P30 denied being mistreated in any manner on the way from Division 40 to Al-Khatib. However, when they arrived [at Al-Khatib] there were mistreated.

Wiedner asked P30 to describe his arrival at the Branch. P30 explained he did not see the way to the Branch because he was blindfolded. P30 was dropped off at the entrance door. His blindfolds were removed, and he found himself in a hallway inside the Branch. There was a person to whom people had to hand in their belongings. P30 described how he then had to take off his clothes, stand against the wall and squat, like everyone else.

Wiedner wanted to know if P30 was somehow mistreated in this situation. P30 affirmed, describing that he was questioned but tried not to say anything. While he was beaten, he was also told what he was accused of.

Wiedner said P30 told the BKA something different, citing from the BKA’s transcript when P30 said the ride from Division 40 to Al-Khatib, during which P30 was constantly beaten, took around 15 minutes. P30 denied, clarifying that he was sitting alone in the backseat and was blindfolded. Referring to the BKA’s transcript, P30 explained he might have referred to the moment when he exited the car.

Wiedner asked P30 to continue his descriptions from the moment he was frisked until he reached the cell. P30 said he was allowed to put on his clothes. He then had to turn left, walk down the hallway until he reached a cell. P30 described that at this point, he had not yet processed that he was detained. When he was pushed inside the cell, he could see that people piled up. Yet, P30 did not fully comprehend that he had to stay in this place. He told the court that in this moment, he still thought that he could somehow leave.

Wiedner asked about the size of the cell. P30 said that he could not sit down the first two days.

Wiedner again asked about the size and wanted to know how many people were detained in this cell. P30 said the cell measured around 4×8 meters. He assumed that there were more than a hundred people inside.

Wiedner asked how P30 was able to sleep. P30 explained that those who were able to sit, could sleep. The rest had to stand for two or three hours until they swapped.

Wiedner asked how the sleeping arrangement turned out for P30. P30 said initially, he did not have a place to sit because he did not know anyone, so he had to stand. After a while, he got to know other detainees. They were chatting about his hometown, reason for arrest, and news from the world outside.

Wiedner cited from the BKA’s transcripts saying that P30 did not sleep for the first two or three days. P30 confirmed.

When asked by Judge Wiedner, P30 said he needed a short break.

***

[15 minute break]

***

Judge Wiedner asked P30 about the situation in the collective cell and the condition of other detainees. P30 recalled that some detainees were tortured every day and returned the following day. Therefore, when they were in the cell, their condition was miserable.

Wiedner asked P30 what he meant by “miserable”. P30 said these people were unconscious and covered in blood.

Wiedner wanted to know more about the health conditions of the detainees. P30 said many people were sick and had fever. P30 described a situation that he remembered as the worst condition of a fellow detainee. The guards took a detainee to P30’s cell whose back was broken. He was just put on the floor and the guards later returned and took him out the cell again.

Wiedner asked P30 if that person was unconscious. P30 denied, adding that initially he was conscious.

Wiedner wanted to know if P30 knew how this person’s back was injured. P30 said the person was tortured with the German Chair. He was screaming from pain. Detainees called the prison guards who came back, took the person, and never brought him back to the cell again. P30 said the injured person told the other detainees his father’s name and that his father was in Jaramana جرمانا. Some people memorized his name in order to inform his father once they would be released.

Wiedner asked if this person was able to move, considering that according to P30 his back was broken. P30 said the person was lying on the floor. P30 and the other detainees put clothes underneath him.

Wiedner asked P30 what other methods of torture he witnessed or heard about from other detainees. P30 described how several people were taken from the cell at night. Water was poured over them and then they had to endure electroshocks. At night the people were taken (several people) and were splashed with water then were tortured by electricity. When they came back, their bodies just fell on the floor.

Wiedner wanted to know whether P30 saw this himself, was told about it, or endured this himself. P30 said it did not happen to him, but he heard about it.

Wiedner asked P30 if “heard about it” meant he was told about it by other detainees. P30 affirmed.

Wiedner wanted to know what exactly P30 heard from others. P30 said he was told from other detainees that they were hanged (Shabh) at night or being tortured while lying on the floor.

Wiedner wanted to make sure that P30 heard about Shabh. P30 confirmed.

Wiedner asked for more details: if P30 was hanged himself, and where people were hanged. P30 said he was not hanged. He assumed that people had to hang against the walls because he saw nails and other devices in the walls.

Wiedner asked P30 if he was told about that or saw that himself. P30 said he saw it himself, adding that when one was taken out for interrogation, one could see it [devices on the walls].

Wiedner asked P30 to elaborate on what he saw. P30 said he saw nails, torturing tools…Judge Wiedner interrupted, asking P30 if the nails were in the walls. P30 affirmed.

Wiedner wanted to know what it looked like exactly and at what height the nails were stuck in the walls. P30 did not remember exactly, however, guessed that the nails were at a height of around two meters. He assumed that other detainees were hanged there or from the cell doors. However, P30 did not see anyone being hanged.

Wiedner recalled P30 describing the bad conditions inside the cells. P30 said most of the people who fell unconscious or had fever, were small children. He explained that he was always together with four other detainees. Three of them were students who were arrested at school.

Wiedner asked P30 to estimate the age of these students. P30 said they were in tenth or eleventh grade, around sixteen or seventeen years old.

Wiedner wanted to know what happened to the students. P30 said they had fever, were interrogated and tortured. They were laying down for several days and P30 and others were putting water-damped clothes on them.

Wiedner recalled P30 telling the BKA that detainees used their clothes to fan the children. P30 described that it was not unusual that detainees took off their clothes. Some used them to fan the younger ones.

Wiedner asked if the cell did not have windows. P30 explained there was a small hatch at the toilet, however, it was useless. There would have only been some fresh air if the hatch in the cell door was opened.

Wiedner recalled that this [door hatch being opened] depended on the guards. P30 confirmed, adding that it was depending on the guards’ mood, as there was no regulation or anything on when and if the hatch was opened.

Wiedner recalled P30 telling the BKA that the detainees had a strong smell, and they smelled new detainees. P30 affirmed, adding that new arrivals were usually clean. Detainees who had been in the cell for longer, however, were unable to wash, so they smelled.

Wiedner further recalled P30 telling the BKA that whenever a new detainee came to the cell, the other asked him about the date and whether Bashar al-Assad was still the president. P30 confirmed.

Wiedner asked if there was medical treatment in case of fever for any other patients. P30 got emotional and asked for a break.

Wiedner asked how much time P30 needed. P30 said he needs 10 minutes.

***

[10 minute break]

***

Wiedner asked about the medical treatment in the collective cell. P30 said that there was no medical treatment. There were detainees who had asthma and cardiac problems and asked to receive medical treatment but did not get any. The doctor [young fellow detainee, see context above] requested anti-inflammatory pills for the detainees who had wounds, but as far as P30 remembered, they only got medicine once.

Wiedner recalled P30 telling the BKA that the young doctor used other detainees’ clothes as compresses. P30 confirmed.

Wiedner further cited from the BKA’s transcripts saying that according to P30 there were instances when people received medical treatment. P30 told the court that one day the cell’s door was opened and a man – whose rank or position P30 did not know- asked the detainees if they needed anything. The detainees requested anti-inflammatory pills, asthma medicine, and cardiac medicine.

Wiedner asked if they were given medicine. P30 affirmed, adding that it was however, only this one time and the number of pills they received was very small.

Wiedner recalled that P30 previously told the court about an elderly man with heart problems, and asked P30 if this person received any kind of treatment. P30 affirmed.

Wiedner asked P30 if he was sick and whether he received medicine. P30 said he had fever and the flu, but he received no pills.

Wiedner wanted to know if P30 heard noises of other detainees being tortured and mistreated when he was inside the cell. P30 affirmed, explaining that the noise came from the hallways close to the cell and one could hear it every day.

Wiedner asked if that happened at night as well. P30 confirmed.

Wiedner wanted to know where P30 was interrogated: downstairs where he was imprisoned or upstairs. P30 described how the guards usually took the detainees out of the cell to the hallway, where the detainees were blindfolded and then taken upstairs. There was a smaller corridor on the left-hand side and several interrogation rooms. People had to wait for their interrogation in this small corridor. On the right-hand side there was a room – possibly a kitchen – where people were waiting as well. P30 said he had to wait in this room once and saw food supplies and beds. The room also had a window. He used his friend’s back to pull his blindfolds, and saw a residential building opposite to where they were.

Wiedner asked how long P30 usually had to wait before he was interrogated. P30 said it was different each time, but at that instance [in the kitchen], he and others had to wait for four to five hours.

Wiedner wanted to clarify whether P30 had to wait for around five hours in the kitchen-like room. P30 affirmed, adding that the room was upstairs near the interrogation rooms.

Wiedner asked if P30 heard any noise from the interrogation rooms while he was waiting. P30 affirmed, specifying that he heard questions from interrogators, answers by the detainees, and beatings.

Wiedner asked if P30 heard screams. P30 affirmed.

Wiedner wanted to know if P30 was beaten while he was waiting to be interrogated. P30 affirmed.

Wiedner asked P30 to describe the situation. P30 described how the detainees had to kneel with their hands tied behind their backs. There was a person beating them. Sometimes, this person left and returned again.

Wiedner recalled that P30 told the BKA about a specific method that was used before the interrogation and asked P30 if he could explain that to the court. P30 explained that all people who had to go upstairs for the interrogation had to endure the same procedure: they were insulted and beaten before the interrogation.

Wiedner cited from the BKA’s transcript saying that P30 heard insults and screams from the interrogation room while he was waiting. There were no breaks between interrogations. Detainees had to wait for three hours and every fifteen minutes a guard came and beat them. P30 confirmed.

Wiedner asked P30 what the interrogators wanted to know from him. P30 said they wanted to know if he was producing videos for Arabic or foreign channels, and whether members from his family were participating in demonstrations.

Wiedner wanted to know if P30 was blindfolded or able to see anything [during the interrogation]. P30 explained that one was blindfolded all the time from the moment one left the cell until one returned.

Wiedner asked P30 if he was able to perceive how many people were present during the interrogation. P30 said there must have been a person in front of him asking questions, and another one behind him who was beating him.

Wiedner wanted to know if there were orders to beat P30. P30 said he did not hear anything, but the interrogator might have used signs.

Wiedner asked P30 how both people were addressing each other and whether P30 could identify a hierarchy between them. P30 recalled that at times, the interrogator ordered the guard to beat P30 on his feet from the front, not from behind.

Wiedner asked P30 from where these orders came. P30 explained that the person in front of him told the person behind P30 to do so, and the person behind P30 replied with “Sidi” [dear sir]. However, P30 did not identify a concrete hierarchy between them.

Wiedner wanted to clarify whether the instructions were given from the person in front of P30 to the person behind him. P30 confirmed.

Wiedner recalled P30 telling the BKA that the person who beat him replied to the interrogator with and wore a “commando” [camouflage] outfit. P30 confirmed.

Wiedner recalled P30 telling the BKA that during his own interrogation, he also heard noises from interrogations in other rooms. P30 confirmed, adding he heard noises of torture as well as questions coming from other interrogation rooms.

Wiedner cited the BKA’S transcript, saying that P30 heard screams from other room, assuming that the detainees were screaming because they were beaten and asked if they carried weapons. P30 confirmed.

Wiedner asked P30 if he thought that there was a chance that the interrogation might end. P30 denied, adding that he was asked the same questions over and over at each interrogation. Every interrogator had his own style: one of interrogators recalled every detail of P30’s life from the day he was born.

Wiedner asked P30 how many times he was interrogated. P30 said he was interrogated eight or nine times.

Wiedner wanted to know if P30 was interrogated by the same interrogator, or if there were different interrogators. P30 said there were different interrogators.

Wiedner asked P30 if he saw the interrogators and how he could tell if they were different. P30 said he differentiated between them by their voices. In addition, he was interrogated at different rooms, he was never interrogated in the same room twice.

Wiedner explained that although P30 did not see any of the interrogators, P30 should look to the defendant’s bench to his right and tell the court if he ever saw the person sitting there. P30 denied, saying he never saw this person [Raslan].

Wiedner recalled P30 explaining the court how he was beaten on his feet, and asked P30 if there were other methods of torture as well. P30 explained the guards used to beat the detainees with sticks, plumbing objects, sticks, with their bare hands and fists, kicked them. P30, however, was never beaten like that.

Wiedner asked P30 about the general and food related conditions at the Branch. P30 said breakfast and supper were the same. The lunch was something cooked, but eight to ten people had to share one plate, so it was never sufficient.

Wiedner asked P30 if he lost weight during his detention. P30 affirmed, adding that he lost around fifteen kilograms, but he did not stay there for a very long time.

Wiedner recalled P30 talking about students being detained in the same cell than him, and asked P30 if there were other minors as well. P30 described that when he arrived in the cell, there was a man from Bloudanبلودان who had a child with him. Later, there were raids in Duma دوما and Harasta حرستا and one could find detainees of all ages. An entire family including grandfather and children were detained.

Wiedner asked about the age of these children. P30 said he saw children around the age of ten or twelve.

Wiedner wanted to know if there were female detainees as well. P30 explained that he once saw through the gap under the cell’s door how a group of male and female detainees – some were wearing hijabs – arrived at the Branch. Two of the men who were severely beaten were taken to P30’s cell. P30 said they were injured with scissors, had wounds in their heads, and part of their scalps were removed.

Wiedner asked P30 if he saw that himself. P30 affirmed, adding that two of the men were taken to his cell.

Wiedner wanted to know whether P30 was talking about the men or women. P30 explained that the group who arrived in the hallway in front of P30’s cell consisted of men and women. Two of men were taken to the collective cell that P30 was in.

Wiedner asked P30 to confirm that no woman was taken to his cell. P30 confirmed.

Wiedner wanted to know what happened to the women. P30 said they were taken to another cell. P30 knew that because the women’s husbands were amongst the detainees in P30’s cell. Whenever he was taken for interrogation, she would also be taken out of her cell and interrogated with him.

Wiedner asked P30 if the women were abused. P30 said they were tortured in the hallway upon their arrival. However, someone from the guards covered the gap under the door of P30’s cell, so the detainees could only hear but no longer see anything.

Wiedner wanted to know if P30 heard about sexual violence against women in Al-Khatib. P30 denied.

Wiedner asked where the women were imprisoned. P30 said his fellow detainees who had been detained several times told him that women are usually detained in solitary cells.

Wiedner cited the BKA’s transcript, saying that P30 described how the women were tortured at night and kept screaming. They were then taken to solitary cells the following day. The solitary cells had a toilet inside and P30 knew from other detainees that sometimes there was more than one person detained in a solitary cell. P30 confirmed the statement.

Wiedner explained that the court’s focus would be on Al-Khatib Branch, however, since P30 was transferred to other places, he should briefly describe his experiences there. P30 said he was transferred to the “state security administration”, where he spent twelve or fourteen days. He was then transferred to the “Military Security Branch” in Al-Qaboun القابون, where he and other detainees spent one night. P30 said some people were taken to a court and released. The registry office in charge of P30 was in [information redacted] and therefore, he had to be transferred there. He was therefore first taken to Al-Balona البالونة [prison] in Homs, then to Al-Jamiliyyeh الجميلية, then to [information redacted]. P30 then had to stay with the military police for one day.

Wiedner asked P30 about his release. P30 said he was released from the judge’s office [court] where he was told about his charges. The judges decided that the time he already spent in prison was sufficient, so he was released. P30 added that he gave the BKA the document that the judges in Syria gave him at his release.

[The following is a recreation of the document that was shown in court, based on what the Trial Monitor was able to see.]

,إلى من يهمه الأم

تم استجواب [تم حجب الاسم]، والده [تم حجب الاسم]، والدته [تم حجب الاسم]، تولد 1989 ومن أهالي [تم حجب المعلومة]، عن جرائم نقل أخبار كاذبة

وتحقير رئيس الدولة والإساءة للقيادة السياسية والعليا. وتقرر تركه من قبل قاضي التحقيق في [تم حجب المعلومة]

قاضي التحقيقات في [تم حجب المعلومة]

27/05/2012

 

[The court interpreter translated the document as follows.]

 

To whom it may concern,

 

[name redacted], his father is [name redacted], his mother is [name redacted], born in 1989 and from [information redacted], was interrogated concerning crimes of propagating false news and disparaging/belittling the state president and offending the political and higher leadership. And it was decided by the Investigating Judge in [information redacted] that he will be released.

05/27/2012 Investigating Judge in [information redacted]

 

Wiedner asked P30 what happened to his job after he was released. P30 said he was fired from his job and expelled from university.

When asked by Presiding Judge Kerber whether he needed a break before lunch break, P30 denied.

Prosecutors’ Questioning

Klinge wanted to know if P30 heard anything about sexual violence against men in Al-Khatib. P30 denied, adding that he and other male detainees were however beaten on their genitals. However, he did not hear anything about male detainees being “raped or anything like that.”

Klinge asked P30 to describe the situations when detainees were beaten. P30 said they were beaten when they had to go upstairs for interrogation.

Klinge wanted to know how exactly detainees were beaten on their genitals. P30 explained how the guards tried to “step” on the detainees’ genitals.

Klinge asked if that was deliberate. P30 affirmed, adding that the detainees always tried to keep their legs closed.

Klinge wanted to know whether P30’s family was informed about his arrest and detention. P30 denied.

Klinge asked if P30’s family asked for information about his whereabouts. P30 explained that his family could not ask anyone, as they were participating in demonstrations as well. However, P30’s colleague who betrayed him told P30’s brother that P30 was arrested.

Klinge wanted to know if P30 suffered any mental or physical consequences from his detention. P30 said he has only been suffering psychological consequences, explaining that he would still be haunted by nightmares. P30 further said he tried to get treatment in 2018, however, until that very moment in court he did not speak openly about that [trying to get treated for his psychological trauma] before. P30 added he tried to forget about it.

Klinge asked P30 if he wanted to share what happened with him after the treatment. P30 explained that even at the beginning of his treatment, it was difficult for him to talk about his experiences.

Defense’s Questioning

Defense Counsel Böcker asked whether it would be correct that the name Anwar Raslan was mentioned during P30’s hearing with the BKA. P30 confirmed.

Böcker asked P30 if he mentioned the name Raslan in any other context as well. P30 said he did mention the name, however, he did not speak about any details.

Böcker recalled P30 telling the BKA that he got in contact with a lawyer. P30 affirmed, saying that once he got in touch with that lawyer, he joined the present case [as a plaintiff] with the help of this lawyer.

Böcker wanted to know who this lawyer was. P30 said it was Anwar Al-Bunni.

Böcker asked if P30 met with Al-Bunni in person before P30’s hearing with the BKA. P30 denied, saying he only met him a long time after the hearing.

Böcker wanted to know when exactly they met. P30 said they met after P30 provided information to the BKA.

Böcker wanted to reassure if P30 and Al-Bunni met only after P30’s hearing with the BKA. P30 affirmed.

Böcker wanted to know when P30 and Al-Bunni met. P30 said it was last year [2020].

Böcker explained he asked these questions because P30 previously stated that he heard the name Raslan from someone in the opposition. Böcker went on to ask P30 how he got to know Raslan’s name. P30 explained he heard the name in the media.

Böcker recalled P30 telling the BKA that one of his friends told him that Raslan was the head of interrogations at Al-Khatib. P30 confirmed, explaining that his friend was a journalist who covered the case against Raslan. He said anyone who knows anything about the relevant time frame [was detained in Al-Khatib sometime between March 2011 and September 2012], then one should get in touch with him [the journalist].

Böcker asked if it is correct that it was not Al-Bunni whom P30 got in touch with at that time. P30 confirmed, clarifying that the person he got in touch with belonged to the opposition, however, it was not Al-Bunni.

Böcker further wanted to know if it would be correct to say that Al-Bunni told P30 to get in touch with him after P30 contacted the journalist from the opposition. P30 confirmed.

Böcker asked P30 about the person who connected him and Al-Bunni. P30 explained that he got in touch with Al-Bunni via Facebook. Al-Bunni gave P30 his phone number and P30 eventually called him.

Böcker wanted to know if there was consequently no intermediary connecting the two of them. P30 confirmed that there was no intermediary.

Böcker recalled P30 telling the BKA that Al-Bunni was looking for people who had information about the case [against Raslan]. P30 described that Al-Bunni said everyone who was detained between 2011 and 2012 should get in touch with him to file a case.

Böcker asked if P30 met Al-Bunni in person. P30 recalled how he called Al-Bunni who then referred him to “the European Centre.”

Böcker wanted to know if P30 meant the “European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR)” which he also mentioned during the BKA hearing. P30 confirmed.

Böcker went on to ask with whom at ECCHR P30 got in touch. P30 said he spoke with a female lawyer at ECCHR.

Böcker asked if her name was Ms. Klein. P30 could not remember her name, however, added that he still had her number.

Böcker recalled P30 telling the BKA how he got in touch with multiple lawyers. P30 clarified that in this context he told the BKA about Mr. Kaleck. P30 further explained that he first got in touch with Al-Bunni who then forwarded him to ECCHR, and they eventually started connecting him with several lawyers.

Böcker asked P30 if he knows Wolfgang Kaleck. P30 said he knows that he is the head of the office [ECCHR].

Böcker wanted to know if Wolfgang Kaleck got in touch with P30. P30 explained that Kaleck did not get in touch with him. He was contacted by Patrick [Kroker].

Böcker asked if P30 also had contact with a female lawyer. P30 said he only saw the female lawyer once during his hearing with the BKA.

Böcker wanted to know whether P30 saw her again at a later point. P30 denied.

Böcker asked P30 if he got in touch with Wolfgang Kaleck or Ms. Klein. P30 told the court how he was forwarded to his present counsel [Mr. Bahns], so there was no need to get in touch with any other lawyers.

Böcker wanted to know who forwarded P30 to his counsel Mr. Bahns. [there was a short discussion between plaintiff counsel Bahns and defense counsel Böcker]. Plaintiff counsel Schulz intervened, saying that it would be normal to see more than one lawyer. Plaintiff counsel Scharmer also intervened, asking Böcker about his intentions to ask these questions.

Presiding Judge Kerber asked Böcker to clarify his question. Böcker said he had no more questions for P30.

 

P30 was dismissed as a witness. When Kerber asked him, he decided to stay in the courtroom.

 

Judge Kerber handed out copies of an email from a witness to the parties. She explained that the witness summoned for March 24 and 25 preferred not to testify in court. The session scheduled for March 25 would therefore be cancelled and the court summoned the BKA inspector who previously interviewed this witness to testify in court instead on March 24.

 

Proceedings were adjourned at 12:10PM.

The next trial day will be on March 24, 2021.

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[1]          Throughout this report, [information located in brackets are notes from our trial monitor] and “information placed in quotes are statements made by the witness, judges or counsel.” Note that this report does not purport to be a transcript of the trial; it is merely an unofficial summary of the proceedings. The names of witnesses have been redacted.

[2]          Note from the Trial Monitor: Throughout the testimony, P30 was speaking very unclearly and with a low voice; Although presiding Judge Kerber repeatedly reminded him to speak up and adjust his microphone.

 

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