Refugees tortured in Syria are seeking redress in German courts

Scene of the crimes

SHAPPAL IBRAHIM knew they were coming for him. As soon as the Syrian security forces began repressing anti-government protests he had helped to organise in the spring of 2011, the Kurdish activist went underground. But the goons soon caught up with him. What followed was nearly two years of horror, most of it in Saydnaya, a notorious military prison outside Damascus. “They made me stand naked in my cell for hours, beat me and tortured me with electric shocks,” he says. “There was never enough to eat, and only three or four hours of sleep a night.”

Unlike countless others, Mr Ibrahim made it out: he was released as part of an amnesty in May 2013 and fled to Germany via Iraqi Kurdistan. Along with other Syrians who suffered a similar fate, he has now offered to testify to the office of Germany’s federal prosecutor in Karlsruhe, in the hope that his torturers will one day face justice in German courts. Working with the European Centre for…

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