Martin Lautwein, a German citizen has joined a torture lawsuit against the Syrian regime’s security apparatus.
The aid worker said he witnessed abuse and killings of other inmates when he was detained for 48 days in Damascus.
By joining this lawsuit, he becomes the first German to accuse the Syrian regime of torture and crimes against humanity.
German citizen joins torture lawsuits against Syrian regime
While happy that he was released, Lautwein is still struggling with the fact that he was released just because of his German passport. But he is not happy with the situation: “What should I say to the many Syrians whose relatives are still in jail?”.
He wonders why he is free yet many Syrians are still subjected to such cruel treatment.
That’s why Lautwein has joined a complaint filed by 13 Syrian victims of torture, which the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) had filed with the Attorney General in 2017. He wants to ensure that the German judiciary clears up the crimes of the regime of the Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad and holds him accountable.
“Now, I want to use my privilege to make people in Germany aware of what happens every day in Syria,” Lautwein said in remarks published by the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) in Berlin.
Germany: Victims of extremist and terrorist acts to receive more government support
The German aid worker was arrested in Qamishli, a majority Kurdish city in northeastern Syria, in 2018. Together with an Australian citizen, they were brought to Branch 235 in Damascus, one of dozens of notorious facilities run by Syrian intelligence, the ECCHR said.
The Syrian regime accused him of spying, possibly because he had contacts with Kurds while delivering what he described as medical aid. He said he was tortured during his detention to a point of feeling like an “animal”, DW reported.
ECCHR said that since Lautwein was not blindfolded, he was later able to give detailed testimony on how others were tortured, raped and killed, citing him as saying: “the [Syrian regime’s] aim was to break people with all means possible.”