Senior Syrian officials on trial in France for war crimes

Three Syrian officials go on trial Tuesday in a Paris court for crimes linked to the disappearance and death of two French-Syrian men—the first trial of high-ranking officials of the Syrian regime over war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the country's civil war.

Ali Mamlouk, former head of the National Security Bureau, Jamil Hassan, former director of the Air Force intelligence service, and Abdel Salam Mahmoud, former head of investigations for the service, will be tried in absentia at the Paris Criminal Court.

All subject to international arrest warrants, they are accused of being involved in the disappearance and death of Mazen Dabbagh and his son Patrick, who were arrested in Syria by Airforce Intelligence agents in November 2013 and later died in custody.

Mamlouk serves as a security adviser to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and will be the first serving Syrian official will go on trial for alleged war crimes.

Arrest and death

When they were arrested in November 2013, Patrick Dabbagh was an arts and humanities student at the University of Damascus, and his father, Mazzen, worked as a senior education adviser at the French high school in Damascus.

Five years later Syrian authorities issued death certificates, stating that Patrick died on 21 January 2014, and Mazzen died on 25 November 2017, without specifying the cause of death.

Syria’s government and Assad have rejected accusations that they have committed mass killings and torture in the war that has left hundreds of thousands dead since 2011.

The trial is scheduled to last four days.

Read more on RFI English

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