Germany has arrested two alleged former Syrian secret service officers accused of torture and crimes against humanity, AFP reported Wednesday (February 13th).
The men, 56-year-old Anwar R. and Eyad A., 42, were arrested on Tuesday in Berlin and Rhineland-Palatinate state. Both left Syria in 2012, prosecutors said.
Also Tuesday, another Syrian believed to have worked for the secret service was arrested in France in a "co-ordinated" operation, the federal prosecution in Karlsruhe said.
"From April 2011 at the latest, the Syrian regime started to suppress with brutal force all anti-government activities of the opposition nationwide," a prosecution statement said.
"The Syrian secret services played an essential role in this. The aim was to use the intelligence services to stop the protest movement as early as possible."
Anwar R. had allegedly led a secret service division that operated a prison in the Damascus area, and had participated in the torture and abuse of prisoners from April 2011 to September 2012.
"As head of the investigative department, Anwar R. directed and commanded prison operations, including the use of systematic and brutal torture," it said.
Eyad A., a former officer who had manned checkpoints and hunted protesters, had allegedly aided and abetted two killings and the physical abuse of some 2,000 people between July 2011 and January 2012.
In the summer of 2011, he manned a checkpoint near Damascus where around 100 people per day were arrested then jailed and tortured in the prison headed by Anwar R.