Germany begins trial of Syrian doctor for crimes against humanity

German prosecutors accused a Syrian doctor Wednesday of torturing detainees and killing one of them while working in military hospitals in his war-torn homeland, on the first day of a landmark crimes against humanity trial in Frankfurt.

The accused, identified as Alaa M under German privacy laws, arrived in Germany in 2015 where he continued to practise medicine until his arrest.

The trial at Frankfurt’s higher regional court is the second of its kind in Germany, and adds to other European efforts to hold loyalists of President Bashar al-Assad’s government to account for alleged war-era atrocities.

Alaa M faces 18 counts of torturing detainees at military hospitals in Homs and Damascus in 2011-12, including setting fire to a teenage boy’s genitals.

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