Anwar Raslan, a senior regime official, headed the investigation unit at a notorious Damascus detention center known as Branch 251. On Thursday, he was found guilty of all the counts brought against him, with the court finding him to be a co-perpetrator in at least 4,000 cases of torture, 27 murders and two cases of sexual assault.
The judges described the crimes as systematic and part of decades-long practices by the Assad regime.
The court ruled that early release from prison would not be possible for Raslan. The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, which represented the joint plaintiffs, initially reported that he had been convicted on 30 counts of murder and five cases of sexual violence before revising its numbers.
Raslan’s co-defendant, Eyad al-Gharib, a junior officer who also served in the facility, was convicted in February 2021 for aiding and abetting torture and deprivation of liberty as crimes against humanity. He is serving a four-and-a-half-year sentence.
Raslan is the most senior regime official to be punished for torture, extrajudicial killings and sexual violence believed to have been systematically committed by members of Assad’s forces. He defected from the Syrian regime in 2012 and fled the country,