Since the uprising began in 2011, military hospitals became torture chambers for the Assad regime.
A Syrian military doctor, who allegedly tortured and killed civilians in his country, has been charged with crimes against humanity by the German federal prosecutors.
Alla Mousa came to Germany in 2015 to practice medicine. He was arrested last year on the charges of 18 counts of torturing the Syrians who opposed the dictatorial rule of Bashar al Assad. As per the German ruling, Mousa used cruel, inhumane methods to torture Syrians in multiple military hospitals in the cities of Homs and Damascus. Mousa allegedly targeted the prisoners' private parts with the intent to make them infertile.
Since the anti-regime protests began in Syria in 2011, injured protesters and opposition members were taken to military hospitals where they had to endure horrific tortures. Within the course of ten years, military hospitals have been a cornerstone of the brutal regime to systematically oppress, kill or maim anyone who dared to challenge the Assad regime.
As the hospitals became “slaughterhouses”, more than 100,000 people have been arrested or forcibly disappeared in Syria, according to a list compiled by the Syrian Network for Human Rights, a monitoring group.
Horrific accounts of torture
German prosecutors accuse the Syrian doctor of having poured alcohol over the genitals of a teenage boy and another man and setting fire to them with a cigarette lighter at military hospital No. 608 in Homs. He is also accused of torturing nine more people in the same hospital in 2011 by kicking and beating them.
The indictment also alleges that Mousa kicked and beat a jailed man who was suffering an epileptic seizure. A few days later, the doctor gave him medication and he subsequently died. The exact cause of his death is still unknown.
The indictment lists other cases of alleged torture at the military hospital in Homs, including hanging people from the ceiling and beating them with a plastic baton, and pouring flammable liquids over the hand of one of them and burning it. Mousa also is accused of kicking another patient’s open, infected wound, pouring disinfectant into it and setting it on fire.
In one case in 2012, Mousa allegedly beat and kicked an inmate severely. When the man defended himself by kicking back, Mousa beat him to the ground with the help of a male nurse and shortly after administered a toxic substance that killed the inmate, German prosecutors allege.
In addition to the torture allegations at the military hospital in Homs, Mousa is also accused of abusing inmates at the military hospital Mezzeh No. 601 in Damascus between late 2011 and March 2012.
Setting a stone
The case of Mousa is a part of a wider effort by Germany to hold members of the Syrian regime accountable as they discreetly entered Germany by mixing up with the refugees who have been the victims of the brutal civil war.
The first time that a court outside Syria ruled in a case alleging Syrian government officials committed crimes against humanity, was in February.
A German court convicted a former member of Assad’s secret police of facilitating the torture of prisoners in a landmark ruling that human rights activists said would set a precedent for other cases in the decade-long conflict.
Eyad Al-Gharib was convicted of accessory to crimes against humanity and sentenced by the Koblenz state court to four and a half years in prison. German prosecutors invoked the principle of universal jurisdiction for serious crimes to bring the case that involved victims and defendants in Germany.
The general secretary of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights lauded the indictment of Mousa.
“Grave crimes against Syria’s civil society are not only taking place in the detention centers of the intelligence services: Syria’s torture and extermination system is complex and only exists thanks to the support of a wide variety of actors,” Wolfgang Kaleck said in a statement.
“With the trial (of Mousa), the role of military hospitals and medical staff in this system could be addressed for the very first time.”