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Dutch authorities have arrested a 34-year-old Syrian asylum seeker accused of war crimes

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Dutch authorities on Tuesday arrested a 34-year-old Syrian asylum seeker accused of war crimes, marking the first arrest of a person in the Netherlands suspected of committing war crimes. of the Syrian government.

The man, whose name has not been released by police, has been charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes for violently detaining a civilian in 2013 and handing him over to Syrian authorities, who were then tortured.

According to the Dutch prosecution, the man was a member of the Liwa al-Quds, or Jerusalem Brigade, a faction made up mainly of Palestinian fighters.

The suspect moved to the Netherlands in 2020, applied for asylum and settled in the small southern town of Kerkrade. The Dutch police have received a series of information about his involvement with Liwa al-Quds, which they consider a criminal organization.

The suspect will have his first court appearance on Friday.

Liwa al-Quds played an important role in the Syrian government’s offensive in the northern city of Aleppo, which ended in 2016 with the capture of rebel-held neighborhoods. The four years of fighting in Aleppo left many members of the group dead or injured and resulted in a major victory for the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

This is the fifth war crimes case in the Netherlands to arise from the conflict in Syria. Under universal jurisdiction, the Netherlands can prosecute certain crimes even if they were committed abroad. A court in The Hague last year convicted another Syrian asylum seeker, Ahmad al-K., of war crimes for executing a Syrian army soldier, an event that was caught on camera.

Germany was the first country to convict an Assad regime official. In 2021, a court in Koblenz sentenced Eyad al-Gharib, a former member of Assad’s secret police, to four and a half years in prison for complicity in crimes against humanity.

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Bassem Mroue in Beirut contributed to this.

ABC News

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