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German court finds Syrian guilty of war crime

Published on February 13, 2020

German judges on Thursday sentenced a Syrian man to three and a half years in prison for crimes including posing with the head of a decapitated corpse in his home country.

Identified only as Kassim A., the 34-year-old received one and a half years from the superior state court in Koblenz for the war crime, with the rest of his sentence relating to lesser crimes committed since his arrival in Germany.

Judges found the man joined forces rebelling against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime at the latest in 2013.

At the latest in November that year, he posed for a photos with the head of an enemy fighter “in a way that mocked and debased the dead man”, they added.

But the court did not find any evidence the defendant had been the one to kill the decapitated man or mutilate his corpse.

Kassim A. admitted to the acts during the trial, saying he had lost people close to him and himself been badly wounded in the conflict that has racked Syria for almost nine years.

Other Syrian refugees alerted the police after he showed them the photos, and officers then found them saved on his phone.

German courts have been looking into war crimes committed in Syria especially since 2016, as witnesses, victims and some suspects have arrived among hundreds of thousands of refugees from the country.