Berlin has asked Beirut to extradite Jamil Hassan, former head of Syria’s Air Force Intelligence, Der Spiegel reported on Sunday 17 February. German Public Prosecutor Peter Frank has accused Hassan of crimes against humanity, systematic torture and the killing of prisoners.
The German public prosecution office believes that Hassan is currently undergoing medical treatment in Lebanon. According to Der Spiegel, Berlin understands that Beirut is unlikely to extradite one of Bashar al-Assad’s confidants, but the official demand will nevertheless increase the pressure on Lebanon and restrict Hassan’s options for relocation.
Jamil Hassan’s name has repeatedly come up during Germany’s investigations into cases of torture by the Assad regime. On 12 February, two persons involved in torture were arrested in Germany, and another twenty-odd are the subjects of ongoing investigations. The Federal Prosecution Office reported that 56 year-old Anwar R. and 42 year-old Eyad A. may stand trial for crimes against humanity.
The investigation believes that the two defendants worked in a division of Syria’s state security service that oversees the capital, Damascus. Anwar R. was head of the division’s investigation department and oversaw the prison department. As head of the prison, between April 2011 and September 2012 he sanctioned the use of systematic and cruel torture, the German prosecution states.
For some time, Eyad A. was responsible for arresting deserters, protesters and other suspects at a checkpoint in Damascus. Each year, around 100 people were arrested at this checkpoint, after which they were sent to the prison managed by Anwar R. For this reason, Eyad A. is believed to be complicit in the death of two people and the torturing of at least 2,000, the prosecution office explains.