Germany arrests Syrian doctor for 'crime against humanity'

A Syrian man who has been living and working as a doctor in Germany since 2015 has been arrested in the central state of Hesse for an alleged "crime against humanity" during his time in his home country, Germany's attorney general said on Monday.

Thought to have been a member of the Syrian regime's military intelligence service, the suspect is said to have tortured an inmate at a prison in the city of Homs in 2011 by beating him with a plastic pipe and kicking him as he lay on the floor, according to a statement from Germany's top prosecutor. The victim later died, although the cause of death is unclear, it added.

The doctor, who has been living in Germany since 2015, also faces a charge of aggravated battery. He was arraigned before a judge on Saturday.

According to the German attorney general's version of the 2011 incident, the doctor was called to attend to the prisoner, who had suffered an epileptic fit during torture. The following day, the prisoner's condition is said to have worsened.

Prosecutors say the suspect appeared again, this time accompanied by another doctor. Both are said to have struck the victim with plastic pipes.

Germany already generated headlines in April for launching the world's first trial involving suspected members of the al-Assad regime for crimes against humanity.

One of the defendants, identified only as 57-year-old Anwar R under German privacy laws, is said to be a former intelligence service official who is accused of organizing the mistreatment of thousands of people in a prison in Damascus. The other, identified as 43-year-old Eyad A, allegedly tracked down protesters after a demonstration and delivered dozens of them to that prison. That trial, taking place in the western city of Koblenz, is scheduled to conclude on 13 August.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has fought to maintain control over his country since peaceful protests in March 2011, which were part of the Arab Spring protests, spiralled into civil war. The Arab Spring was brutally repressed in Syria.

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